Men’s ice hockey defeats Middlebury twice consecutively

Men’s ice hockey (12–10–0, 8–8–0 in the NESCAC) defeated Middlebury twice last weekend, snapping a six-game losing streak.

On Saturday, C.J. Shugart ’18 scored both goals in a 2-1 victory over the Panthers in Middlebury, Vt.

The men outshot Middlebury 6-5 in the first period, but no goals were scored. 47 seconds into the second period, Middlebury’s Charlie Parsons was called to the box for tripping.  Shugart scored just six seconds later, with captain Colby Cretella ’18 and Jack McCool ’21 recording assists.

At 19:50 of the period, the Ephs doubled their lead. Shugart cashed in his second goal of the night on an assist from Roberto Cellini ’19.

The Panthers entered the third period down 2-0, but they cut the deficit in half at 8:15. After Will Somers ’20 was called to the box for hooking, Middlebury’s Alex Heinritz was able to put the Panthers on the scoreboard.

The final score was 2-1 in the Ephs’ favor. Goaltender Michael Pinios ’19 made 16 saves, while Stephen Klein made 23 stops for Middlebury.

The Ephs also topped the Panthers 2-1 on Friday in Lansing Chapman Rink.

Entering Friday’s contest, the men had lost six straight games and had not recorded a conference victory since Jan. 7’s 3-2 win over Wesleyan.

Despite outshooting the Panthers 15-3, the Ephs were unable to put the puck in the net in the first period. However, they continued their aggressive play.

Middlebury got on the board first at 11:30 of the second period. After a turnover in the Eph defense, Panther forward Vincent Gisonti fired a wrist shot over Stephen Morrissey ’18’s left shoulder from the left circle, earning a 1-0 Middlebury lead.

The Ephs brought the game to a deadlock at 17:37 of the period when Shugart skated to the right circle from behind the net  and fired a wrist shot past Klein. Nick VanBelle ’21 assisted on the goal.

After the first 40 minutes of play, shots were 26-14 in the Ephs’ favor, but the game was tied 1-1.

At 16:16 of the third period, matching roughing penalties were called on Danny Tighe of the Panthers and Max Fuld ’20 of the Ephs. Ultimately, neither team was able to capitalize on the penalties, and the scoreless third period resulted in five minutes of overtime.

With just 30 seconds remaining in the game, the Panthers pulled their goalie as a faceoff was taking place in the Panthers’ offensive zone. The Ephs, however, won the faceoff and raced down the ice to attempt shots on the empty net.

While two defenders smothered Tyler Scott ’21, he passed to Cretella, who scored to capture the 2-1 victory. Connor Meike ’19 was also credited with the secondary assist for Scott’s goal.

“Tonight was definitely a step forward,” head coach Mike Monti said. “We have talked as a group about not playing the scoreboard – that takes care of itself.”

Morrissey made 20 saves for the men.

Currently seventh in NESCAC standings, mens’ ice hockey is set to host second-place team and archrival Amherst on Saturday at 3 p.m. in Lansing Chapman Rink.