Amherst defeats Middlebury 4-0 in playoff preview

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AMHERST, Mass. - Amherst College first-year forward David White netted his second hat trick of the season to help spark the 11th-ranked Jeffs to a 4-0 victory over Middlebury College in Friday evening's NESCAC clash at Orr Rink.

With the win, Amherst improves to 17-4-2 on the season, 13-4-0 in league action, while Middlebury moves to 9-11-3 overall, 6-8-3 in NESCAC play.

White picked up his second hat trick of the season, while Amherst goalie Danny Vitale '15 was stellar between the pipes, notching 25 saves to secure the victory.

Amherst broke the scoreless deadlock at the 9:32 mark of the first period when White scored to give the Jeffs a 1-0 advantage. Aaron Deutsch '15 and Topher Flanagan '16 assisted on the scoring play. With 3:28 to play in the stanza, senior forward Dan Merenich fired a shot on goal from just in front of the crease, but Middlebury goalie Stephen Klein got his right pad in the way of the shot to keep the Panthers' deficit at 1-0. Middlebury edged the Purple & White in shots, 8-5, as Amherst took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission.

Early in the second period, Middlebury went on the power play and Max Greenwald fired a shot from the left point but Vitale deflected the shot off his post to keep the 1-0 edge.

At the 11:04 mark of the second frame, Thomas Lindstrom '18 notched his fifth goal of the season following passes from Tyler Granara '18 and senior co-captain Mike Rowbotham to increase the Amherst advantage to 2-0. The Jeffs out-shot Middlebury, 13-5 in the second period.

Just 1:14 into the third session, White delivered his second marker of the contest to give the Purple & White a 3-0 cushion. Conor Brown '16 and Flanagan registered the helpers on the play. White then lit the lamp for the third time in the contest and second time in the stanza at the 15:32 mark to give the Jeffs a 4-0 lead. The hat trick goal was his team-leading 16th goal of the season and occurred on a 4-on-3 power play. Deutsch added the assist on the marker as Amherst skated to the convincing four-goal victory.

Vitale made 12 of his 25 saves in the third period en route to his third shutout of the season and improved to 10-3-2 on the season. Klein made 16 saves in 41:14 of action in the losing effort. Mike Peters played the final 18:46 and made eight stops.

Lindstrom led the Jeffs with six shots on goal, while White registered five shots on target in the winning effort.

Terrance Goguen led the Panthers with four shots on goal, followed by three from Greenwald.

Amherst concludes its regular season slate on Saturday, February 21 when it hosts archrival Williams College at 3 p.m. Saturday's contest also marks Senior Day for the Jeffs.

Amherst and Middlebury will meet in the NESCAC quarterfinals as Amherst is locked into second place while the Panthers will finish in seventh.

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