With the game knotted at four-all at the half, Middlebury outscored Colby 7-2 over the final 30 minutes of play, for an 11-6 win at Youngman Field at Alumni Stadium on Saturday. The victory gives the seventh-ranked Panthers a 5-1 overall record, and a 3-1 mark in NESCAC action, as the Mules drop to 3-4 and 1-3 in conference play.
Middlebury jumped out to a 2-0 first quarter lead, starting with a man-up tally by John McGoldrick at 14:36 off a feed by David Hild. Andrew Conner added the second goal at 6:49 with a 15-yard laser from the right side. Nearly a minute later, Colby’s John Jennings, cut the lead to 2-1 on an underhand shot. Hild answered later in the quarter, on a left side dodge for a 3-1 lead.
Hild set up a cutting Alex Englert for a 4-1 lead at 12:24 in the second quarter, but the Mules fought back, scoring the next three to tie the game. Bjorn Knutson answered Englert’s goal eight seconds later, while Ian Deveau took a Mark Squicciarino pass in for a goal at 6:57, capping an effective penalty kill. James Wyse scored the game-tying goal at 2:24, picking up a ground ball in front of the Middlebury cage and immediately flipped a dramatic behind-the-back shot past Panther goalie Ryan Deane.
At the end of the first half, Middlebury held a decisive 29-15 shot advantage, grabbing 22 ground balls to Colby’s 11, while Deane made 11 of his season-high 17 saves in the first 30 minutes. Colby’s Craig Bunker was a force at face-off, winning eight of 10 first half match-ups.
Middlebury opened the second half on a three-goal spurt, scoring the only two goals of the third quarter, including a nifty transition goal by Alex Giammarco at 5:35. Conner capped the run on a cross-crease feed from Mike Giordano for a man-up score at 14:29 of the fourth, for a 7-4 lead.
The Mules bookended a pair of fourth quarter goals around a Sam Palmisano score, cutting their deficit to 8-6 with 9:39 left to play. But the Panthers put another three-goal string together for an 11-6 lead with 4:44 left to play. Hild scored his third goal of the game at 8:52 off a pin-point assist from Tim Cahill from behind the net. On Middlebury’s next goal, Cahill was on the receiving end, as Giordano intercepted a clearing pass by Colby’s goalie, setting up the Cahill score. Giammarco ended the run on a transition goal at 4:44 for the 11-6 lead, which proved to be the final score.
For the game, Hild added two assists to his hat-trick performance, while Conner and Giammarco netted a pair of goals and Giordano chipped in with two helpers. Ryan Deane earned the win in net, making a season-best 17 saves while collecting a team-high six ground balls.
Jennings led Colby with two goals, as Squicciarino and Deveau both added a goal and an assist. Bunker ended the day winning 15/20 face-offs, grabbing a game-best nine ground balls. Peter Reiley made eight saves in net for the Mules.