Middlebury Holds Off Late Charge By Hamilton

A.J. Kucinski had three goals and an assist during Wednesday's win.
A.J. Kucinski had three goals and an assist during Wednesday's win.

Middlebury moved out to a 15-7 lead after three quarters and held off a late push by visiting Hamilton, en route to a 17-14 NESCAC victory Wednesday on Youngman Field at Alumni Stadium. The Panthers (4-5, 3-3) remain at home for another conference contest on Saturday when they host Colby at 1:00 p.m., while the Continentals (3-5, 1-5) entertain Trinity at the same time.

The teams traded the first four goals to start the contest before tallies by Will Brossman on a shot from the left driving toward the goal and Frank Cosolito from 10 yards away on the left gave the Panthers a 4-2 advantage. Chad Morse scored with 1:01 left in the opening frame, pulling the visitors to within one at the end of the first quarter.

In the second stanza, Chase Goree scored three times in a span of 2:38, sandwiched around a Morse goal, giving the Panthers a 7-4 edge with 11:02 left. Just 2:01 later, Zeke Emerson tallied his first career goal on a shot from 20 yards out, giving Middlebury an 8-4 lead.  Both sides recorded two goals over the remainder of the frame, including an unsettled score by Hamilton's Ben Gardner with 1:02 showing on the clock for a 10-6 Middlebury halftime cushion.

Out of the break, the Panthers outscored the Continentals by a 5-1 tally in the third quarter as five different players posted a goal. Goree recorded his fourth of the day at 13:34, while A.J. Kucinski found the back of the net during a fast-break opportunity 2:15 later for a 12-6 lead. Zach Larsen scored on a sharp-angled shot from the right for Hamilton near the midway point of the quarter, before the Panthers netted the final three scores for a 15-7 edge.

The fourth quarter saw the Continentals rattle off four-straight goals to begin the stanza, including a pair by Henry Hunt on a spinning shot from eight yards out following by a bouncing attempt, slicing the deficit to 15-11 with 9:24 left on a man-up tally. Cosolito glanced a pipe and ricocheted in from the right side, while Luke Peterson tallied via an odd-angled shot from the left, extending the lead to 17-11 at the 5:48 mark. Morse notched the final three goals of the contest, including the final one on a wraparound attempt with 37 ticks left, for the final 17-14 score.

Offensively for Middlebury, Goree led the way with four goals, while Kucinski had three goals and an assist. Jake Madnick scored once, scooped up 11 ground balls and went 18-35 at the faceoff X. Eric Jeremiah had three ground balls, while Charles Midgley finished with a season-high 19 saves in goal with six stops in the final quarter.

Morse scored six times and added an assist for Hamilton, while Hunt had three goals and a helper. Quinlan Crowley had six ground balls and went 17-35 on faceoffs, while James Sanderson had an assist and caused a pair of turnovers. Max Scheidl made eight saves in 30:00 of action, while Seamus Fagan had six stops in the final two quarters.

Hamilton held slights advantages in shots (51-46) and ground balls (41-36) in the contest.