Men’s hockey post-season run cut short

By BLAISE SIEFER

A season-long pattern of poor home performances continued on Saturday, as men’s puck was bested by Wesleyan in the NESCAC Quarterfinals in Kenyon Arena. Despite entering the third period with a 2-1 lead, the Panthers conceded three straight goals to the Cardinals, who booked their ticket to the NESCAC Semifinal with a 4-2 victory. The Panthers finish the season 10-12-3 overall, an improvement from last season’s 8-13-4 record. 

The Cardinals dealt the first blow with 48 seconds remaining in the first stanza when Cam Peritz punched home a rebound. Senior netminder Brian Ketchabaw ‘20 made a nice effort to save an initial shot, but Wesleyan’s power play was simply too much for the Panthers to handle. 

Just under two minutes into the second period, Zach Shapiro ’22 found the back of the net after Emack Bentley ’22 stole the puck and delivered a deftly placed assist. The Panthers seemed primed to grab a second goal after tying the game up, but failed to capitalize on two consecutive power play opportunities. However, they finally snatched the lead with 40 seconds remaining in the second, after a slap shot from Brendan Dawson ’20 smashed into the back of the net. 

The third period was one to forget for the Panthers, who conceded three consecutive goals en route to a 4-2 home defeat. Men’s puck were not devoid of chances in the final period; Wesleyan keeper Tim Sestak rarely had a chance to breathe in the last 20 minutes, facing multiple Panthers shots, one of which ricocheted off the post. This marked the second year in a row that Wesleyan defeated Middlebury in the NESCAC Quarterfinals. 

Captain Owen Powers ’20, who finished the season with a team-high 22 points, was quick to find the positives in the season. “Although we were disappointed with the end result, I am really proud of the steps this team has taken over my 3 years here at Midd. I look forward to watching their continued success. Cheer boys cheer.” 

Co-captain Brett Dineen ’20 shared a similar sentiment. “We accomplished a lot as a group including the team’s first home playoff game in six years. I’m excited to see what the returners continue to achieve in the rest of their Middlebury career.” 

The Cardinals head to Williamstown next weekend, where they will face off against the top-seeded Ephs in the NESCAC Quarterfinals.