By Michael Warren
NORTHFIELD, VT- The Middlebury Panthers used two second period goals, and Brian Ketchabaw’s first career shutout en route to a 3-0 win in the opening round of this year’s Primelink Great Northern Shootout at Kreitzberg Arena.
The opening frame of the tournament between the Cardinals and Panthers ended in a scoreless tie, with both teams getting a few chances throughout the period.
Middlebury had their chance to open the scoring after Plattsburgh's Jakob Engvall turned the puck over in the neutral zone, leading to an odd man rush where Jimmy Poreda came up with a couple of saves to keep it scoreless.
Plattsburgh had their best shot of the period when a 3-on-1 developed, with Cam Owens dropping the puck back to Richie McCartney who delivered a shot from the right circle, that just missed the net.
The Panthers had one more scoring chance late in the 1st, as Sophomore Michael Fahie, delivered a tape to tape pass from the left half-wall to Jimmy Mckee that Poreda made an easy save on.
Shots on goal after 1 were 12-11 in favor of Plattsburgh, and the Panthers could not score on their lone power play chance in the 1st.
Both teams played back and forth for the first 7 minutes of the 2nd, until Middlebury took 2 penalties, leading to a full 2-minute 5 on 3 for the Cardinals.
Plattsburgh only got a few shots off during the stretch, leading to the momentum scale tipping in favor of the Panthers for the rest of the frame.
Shortly after the kill, Middlebury would set up in the Cardinal zone, where Jimmy Mckee would blast a shot from the point, leading to Junior Captain Owen Powers redirecting it past Poreda, to give Middlebury a 1-0 lead.
Mckee would take a penalty for the Panthers soon after, but during the kill, Freshman Zach Shapiro would carry the puck up the left wing, taking a shot from the left circle, beating Poreda weak-side post to put the Panthers up 2-0 with just under 5 minutes left in the frame.
Middlebury would hold that 2-0 to the end of the 2nd, with the Cardinals holding a 19-18 shot advantage.
Plattsburgh entered the 3rd period with a bit more energy, but the Panthers still held more of the chances down the stretch, including a breakaway from Emack Bentley that was saved by Poreda.
Poreda was pulled with 2:30 left in the game, but it was Middlebury came away with a goal, when Michael Fahie took the puck at center ice, tried to put the puck in and was slashed by Plattsburgh’s Phil Middleton. The slash stopped a clear path to the net with the net empty, which by rule awards Middlebury the goal.
With the win, The Panthers improve to 2-1 on the season, while the Cardinals drop to 3-2-1 overall.
Shots on goal in the contest were 27-26 in favor of the Panthers, with Ketchabaw stopping all 26, and Poreda stopping 24.