Men’s Hockey Swept by Amherst in Quarterfinal

Evan+Neugold+%E2%80%9916+and+the+Middlebury+men%E2%80%99s+hockey+team+saw+their+season+come+to+an+end+on+Saturday%2C+Feb.+28+with+a+loss+to+Amherst.

Evan Neugold ’16 and the Middlebury men’s hockey team saw their season come to an end on Saturday, Feb. 28 with a loss to Amherst.

By Charlie Ascher

The Middlebury men’s hockey team’s season ended this past Saturday, Feb. 28 in the NESCAC quarterfinals. The seventh-seeded Panthers were shut out on the road by second-seeded Amherst 3-0.

After they were shut out by Amherst 4-0 the week before, Middlebury came out strong and dictated play for much of the first period. The Panthers outshot the Jeffs 11-2 in the opening frame, but were unable to get anything past the Amherst goaltender, who at one point in the period made six rapid fire saves on quality Middlebury stuff-in attempts to keep the game scoreless.

Despite the dominant period, Middlebury was unable to get on the board and the score remained 0-0 going into the first intermission.

The second period provided a drastic change in momentum. Amherst took control of the period and scored 15:56 in when one of their forwards managed to find the puck in a scrum in front of the Middlebury goal and got it past Middlebury goaltender Mike Peters ’15. Peters stood strong for the remainder of the second and kept Middlebury in the game despite some heavy Amherst pressure.

After the second intermission Amherst found the back of the net once again. 5:34 into the third period, a minute after Peters stopped an Amherst 2-1, the Jeffs went up 2-0 on a well-placed shot. Despite going on the power play twice in a row, Middlebury was unable to find the back of the net due to some solid Amherst goaltending. Middlebury pulled Peters for the extra attacker with two minutes remaining but were unable to capitalize and Amherst sealed the victory with an empty net goal with a second remaining in the game.

Middlebury outshot Amherst 28-25 in the loss and goaltender Peters made 22 saves on 24 shots faced.

With the defeat on Saturday the Panthers’ quest for the NESCAC title, and consequently their season, ended. The team finished with an overall record of 10-12-3, with a 6-4-2 home record, a 3-7-1 away record, and a 1-1 record on neutral ice. They finish seventh in the NESCAC with a 7-8-3 conference record.

Middlebury’s offense finished the season ninth in the NESCAC, averaging 2.16 goals per game while the defense finished fifth, allowing an average 2.52 goals per contest. Both the power play and the penalty kill finished mid-table, with the team scoring at a 21.8 percent clip with the man-advantage – good for fifth in the NESCAC, and killing off 83 percent of opponents’ power plays – good for fourth in the NESCAC.

Jake Charles ’16, Middlebury’s top point-scorer, finished 20th in the NESCAC scoring race with 20 points in 24 games. Despite the relatively underwhelming season, the team’s future is bright.

While it is always tough to replace the departing Seniors, this year the team will only lose three players. There are 10 juniors currently on the team and five of the team’s top six scorers are juniors, giving the team a strong senior class next year. The team’s core should only continue to get stronger as the underclassmen continue to develop.