Middlebury Downs Colby In Men's Ice Hockey Semifinals
Courtesy Trinity Sports Information
WEST HARTFORD, Conn. - Senior co-captain defenseman Patrick Nugent (Lynnfield, Mass.) had a goal and an assist and freshman goalie Ross Cherry (Basking Ridge, N.J.) saved 29 out of 30 shots to lead the Middlebury College Panthers to a 4-1 win over the Colby College White Mules in the semifinal round of the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Men’s Ice Hockey Championship Tournament this afternoon at Kingswood-Oxford Rink.
Middlebury, seeded No. 2 in the tournament, improves to 19-4-3 with its fourth straight win and will play the No. 4-seeded Bowdoin College Polar Bears in the NESCAC Finals tomorrow at Trinity College at 1 p.m. No. 3-seeded Colby ends the season with a 15-8-2 record. Bowdoin earned its spot in the league finals with a 3-2 win over top-seeded and tournament host Trinity earlier today. Middlebury, the defending NESCAC Champions, will be making its sixth straight appearance in the league finals.
After a scoreless first period with just 14 shots taken by both teams, the Panthers took control with two goals in the second period. Freshman forward Mickey Gilchrist (Ottawa, Ontario) wristed a shot from the center over the glove shoulder of Colby senior goalie Chris Ries (Pittsburgh, Pa.) 4:46 into the second frame, and sophomore defenseman Jocko DeCarolis (Taberg, N.Y.) shot the puck into the lower left corner of the net from almost the same spot at 16:40 of the second for the Panthers.
Colby finally put one past Cherry 5:58 into the third frame when freshman defenseman Joe Rothwell (Unionville, Ontario) blasted in a slapshot on a power play. Middlebury answered quickly, as Nugent needed only 23 seconds to score from sophomore forward Evgeny Saidachev (Gig Harbor, Wash.) and push the Panther lead back up to two goals. Middlebury added another goal with 3:20 left on the clock to put the game away. Ries finished with 22 stops for Colby, while Cherry made 17 of his 29 saves in the third period. Colby was 1-for-9 on the power play and Middlebury failed to convert on all five of its power play opportunities.