The Middlebury College Panthers won the NESCAC Championship tournament last weekend at Bowdoin College, and now will be competing for the NCAA Division III National Championship, beginning this weekend. The Panthers defeated Trinity 4-2 in the NESCAC semifinals last Saturday, and then knocked off top-seeded Bowdoin College 3-2 in an exciting conference championship game on Sunday. This Saturday they will host Plattsburgh in the NCAAA quarterfinals. Face-off time is scheduled for 7:00 PM.
Against Trinity the Panthers jumped out to a 4-0 lead through the first two periods, and then survived a comeback attempt by the Bantams in the third. Junior forward Ken Suchoski put the Panthers on top 1-0 with a power play goal 7:33 into the opening period. Middlebury then opened up the game with three unanswered goals from Martin Drolet, Matthew Dubuc and John Sullivan in the second.
But Trinity wasn't about to quit. Adam Houli and Jeffrey Menard scored for the Bantams in the final period. But in the end the hole they dug was to deep and the Panthers held on to claim the 4-2 win.
Middlebury ended the contest with a 40-28 shot advantage. In the net junior goalie Wesley Vesprini made 36 saves for Trinity, while John Yanchek stopped 26 for the victorious Panthers. The Bantams finished their season with a 15-9-2 record.
Sundays Conference Championship game against the Bowdoin Polar Bears was even tougher. The Panthers jumped out to an early 2-0 lead on two opening period power play goals from Dubuc, giving the freshman forward 3 goals over the course of the weekend's two games.
Bowdoin answered though. Ryan Blossom scored an unassisted short handed goal for the second periods lone score, cutting the Panthers lead to one, 2-1. Then halfway through the final period Blossom struck again, tying the game at 2-2.