WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. -- Friday night at Lansing Chapman rink, Williams (13-5-2, 9-3-2 NESCAC) welcomed Route 7 rival Middlebury (8-10-2, 6-7-1 NESCAC) for a home-and-home series on the penultimate weekend of regular season conference play. The Ephs were looking to bounce back after two losses in Connecticut last weekend. Likewise, the Panthers were looking to gain momentum following a difficult stretch of their own in 2014.
The opening frame progressed slowly. Williams nearly notched a tally just over five minutes in, when sophomore defenseman Zander Masucci got a point shot past Panther goaltender Liam Moorfield-Yee, but it rang off the crossbar. Later in the period, at the 13:30 mark, the Ephs got their first power play opportunity when Robbie Dobrowski was whistled for tripping. Moorfield-Yee was not put to the task until the end of the man advantage, when he snared a Greg Johnson point shot with his glove hand.
As Dobrowski's penalty expired, Panther senior Ben Wiggins tripped first-year George Hunkele at 15:37 to put the Ephs right back on the power play. Once more, though, the Middlebury penalty-kill unit responded in a steady manner, and the first period ended scoreless.
Middlebury got its first power play chance early in the middle frame when Paul Steinig took a penalty at 1:56. The Panthers set it up well, but junior goaltender Sean Dougherty made a few key saves at the end to keep the visitors off the board.
Just over halfway through the second, Eph freshman Sam Gray was called for tripping. At 11:51, 23 seconds later, Dougherty got a minor for interference, giving Middlebury a prolonged two-man advantage. The Panthers moved the puck well, but Williams killed off both minors without surrendering any quality chances courtesy of timely shot blocks by its penalty killers.
With a minute left in the period, the Ephs had the best scoring chance of the game when Hunkele came in alone from the blue line on a broken play. He snapped a shot over Moorfield-Yee that hit the crossbar squarely – Williams' second post of the game – and dropped down just in front of the goal line.
As the period drew to a close, Steinig and Panther sophomore Max Greenwald were called for matching roughing minors to create a four on four skating situation. The period finished scoreless just as in the first.
Middlebury capitalized on the open ice from the four on four skating. The Ephs committed a bad turnover behind the net, and Panther junior George Ordway took a quick wraparound attempt. The wrist shot trickled through Dougherty's seven-hole on the short side to break the scoreless contest. Ordway's goal was unassisted.
That lead did not last long, however, as Williams capitalized on John Barr's tripping minor two minutes later. Freshman Frankie Mork made a great cross-ice pass back door to Nick Anderson for a one timer. Moorfield-Yee made the initial stop on a slick sliding save, but the rebound was lying in the crease for Hunkele to swipe home and knot the score at one. Assists on Hunkele's ninth goal of the year went to Anderson and first-year Tyler Young.
Each squad traded quality chances as the period went on, and Middlebury got a glorious chance to win the game when Eph defender Brian McNamara was whistled for tripping at the 17:22 mark. A few key stops from Dougherty, though, and the Ephs were able to kill off the minor, sending the game into overtime.
In the extra session, neither team could generate anything on offense and the game ended tied at one. Shots were 24-21 in favor of the Ephs.
Following the game, Head Coach Bill Kangas had the following to say about his team's performance: "It was a well played game against a good opponent. We had our chances, and I thought each team did some really good things. It was a good start to the weekend, and I was pleased with our compete level. We have a night to reflect on this and prepare for tomorrow's game."
Williams record now stands at 13-5-3 (9-3-3 NESCAC), while the Panthers are 8-10-3 (6-7-2 NESCAC). These two teams will face off tomorrow in Vermont, and puck drop is slated for 7 PM.