Men’s ice hockey remains No. 1 in NESCAC conference after 5-3 win over Middlebury

Jo Kim

Men’s ice hockey (15–6–1, 12–4–0 NESCAC) defeated Middlebury (8–11–3, 6–7–3 NESCAC) 5-3 on Saturday. The eventual game-winning goal came from Niko Karamanis ’22, who scored just 50 seconds into the final frame to increase the score to 4-1. Following a defensive play from Jack McCool ’21 on the right side of the offensive blue line, Karamanis fired the puck on goal from the top of the right circle, and the shot went through the Middlebury goalie’s legs to give Karamanis his 11th goal on the season and the Ephs a 3-goal lead. The goal was Ephs’ fourth after the Panthers opened the scoring in the first period.

Down 1-0 after the first, the Ephs took advantage of one of their three power plays in the second period to level the score at 1-1. McCool fired a shot towards the Middlebury goal from the top of the left circle, which deflected off of Bobby Beniers ’21. The puck bounced to Nick VanBelle ’21 on the right side of the net, who jammed the puck into the cage 4:21 into the second. 

Following VanBelle’s 3rd goal of the season, Mac Carso ’23 gave the Ephs the lead after he received a pass off the boards from Jack Forrest ’22. Carso raced through the neutral zone and put the puck between a Panther defender’s legs at the blue line, then sent a shot from just below the right faceoff dot into the top right corner to give the Ephs the lead with 8:22 left in the period. The goal was Carso’s sixth of the season.

The Ephs doubled their lead with 3:19 left in the period when Tyler Scott ’21 scored his ninth four-on-four situation of the season. Following his defensive play, Peter Christie ’20 found Scott in the neutral zone. Scott then skated past the Panthers’ defenseman wide to the left side, then cut inside and shot the puck past the Middlebury goaltender to give the Ephs a two-goal lead going into the third period. The Ephs took control in the second period and outshot the Panthers 12-3.

Head coach Bill Kangas noted that the three goals scored in the second period followed a slow first period for the Ephs. “[The game] started from us not doing the right things: we didn’t move our feet, we overhandled pucks,” he said. “We really competed well and stepped it up in the second.”

McCool scored his second goal of the season at the 7:09 mark of the third period. On the goal, the Ephs won control of the puck down low and Wyatt Glover ’20 shot the puck at the Panthers’ goal from the left side of the zone, with the puck deflecting off of Scott and falling to McCool. He shot from the top of the right faceoff circle and past the goaltender to give the Ephs their fifth and final goal of the game. 

The men will compete next when they host Hamilton this Friday, Feb. 21, at 7 p.m.