Men’s ice hockey (10-7-5, 7-7-2 in the NESCAC) traveled to Middlebury last Saturday, losing a close game 3-2.
The men also hosted the Panthers on Thursday, falling 5-1.
Last Saturday, the men traveled to Vermont to face Middlebury for the second time in a week. The Panthers scored first, notching a goal within two minutes of the drop of the puck. Panther Tucker Donahoe ripped a shot past Ryan Purdy ’12 at 2:06 to take a 1-0 lead. Despite an opportunity at the end of the period, the Ephs were not able to get by the Panther netminder, and the first period ended with the Panthers up 1-0.
Middlebury started the second period strong, netting a goal in the first three minutes. The rest of the period remained scoreless, although the Ephs had several scoring opportunities. Nick Anderson ’14 got a breakaway midway through the period but was unable to sneak past Middlebury keeper Dan Fullam. The men headed to the second intermission down 2-0.
The third period opened with a penalty call against co-captain Ryan Scott ’12. The Panthers capitalized on the man-up opportunity to net their third goal of the game. Down 3-0, things looked grim for the Ephs. However, just two minutes after Middlebury’s third goal, Peter Mistretta ’15 got the rebound off a shot from David Jarrett ’15 and ripped it past the Middlebury keeper to make the score 3-1 with 10:28 to play.
The men remained down by two until forward Bryden McGhee ’14, who was injured for most of the season, came through for the men, scoring a goal amidst a tussle in front of the Middlebury net with 45 seconds on the clock. Assistant captain John Wickman ’13 got the assist on the play. Though the Ephs battled to close the Panthers’ one-goal lead for the remaining 45 seconds of the game, they were unable to net another goal. Middlebury walked away with a 3-2 victory. Despite the loss, Purdy was strong in net, notching 23 saves in the contest.
“We played better Saturday night [than Thursday night], mainly because we were unhappy with both our effort and the result of Thursday’s home game,” Scott said. “The team made a step forward regardless of not earning the win.”
On Thursday, Middlebury came out strong and motivated for the win. The first period was close: The Ephs staved the Panthers off on two penalty kills, but they were unable to capitalize on two of their own man advantages. The men almost took the lead when Eric Rubino ’13 fed the puck to assistant captain Stephen Maier ’12. Although Maier made a great move, he was unable to put one past the Middlebury goaltender. Middlebury then scored with five minutes left in the first, collecting the puck off a save by Purdy to take a 1-0 lead.
The Panthers increased their lead to 2-0 just 2:29 into the second period, scoring off a faceoff in the Ephs’ defensive zone. Middlebury tallied two more goals with five minutes left in the period, claiming a daunting 4-0 advantage.
The men came out fighting at the start of the third period, scoring less than a minute into the period off a wrist shot from Jarrett to bring the score to 4-1 in Middlebury’s favor. Jarrett was assisted by Paul Steinig ’14. However, with under eight minutes to play, Purdy let out a rebound and Panther Michael Griffin was able to find the back of the net, making the final score 5-1 with Middlebury on top.
Purdy made a remarkable 43 saves in Thursday’s game, but the Ephs only managed 23 shots to the Panthers’ 48.
The men will wrap up their regular season with a pair of home games this weekend. They will host Amherst on Saturday at 7 p.m. and Hamilton on Sunday at 3 p.m.