Middlebury battled back and forth with 17th-ranked Endicott on Tuesday afternoon, but the Gulls scored three goals in a 2:30 stretch late in the fourth quarter for a 14-12 win at Stevenson Field on the campus of Brown University. Middlebury will play NESCAC rival Amherst on Saturday at 2:00 p.m.
Endicott (6-2), who won its first game over Middlebury in program history, was facing Middlebury for the first time since 2005 and just the third time overall. The team's two previous meetings came in the NCAA Tournament in 2001 and 2005.
The Panthers (2-5) trailed 3-1 after the first quarter of play. Middlebury battled back in the second to take the lead at 6-5 with 4:40 left until halftime on a Quinn Cronan goal. The visitors took a two-goal lead just 35 seconds later on Jon Broome's third goal of the second quarter. Endicott came back with two straight by Jeremy Morgan, a man-down score from Colin Bannon, and another off a pass from Joshua Tordik.
Endicott would go into halftime with an 8-7 lead as Nick Pinciaro beat the goalie for the first of his two goals with 48 ticks left on the clock. Pinciaro also opened up the scoring 9:48 into the second half on his second unassisted goal of the game.
With a 10-8 lead to start the fourth quarter, Middlebury quickly pulled within one as Jack Cleary squeaked a goal by Bell. The two teams exchanged goals with Panthers midfielder Brian Ayers making it a 12-11 game with just 1:56 remaining. Endicott provided one final surge as unassisted goals by Morgan and Cotter gave the Gulls their largest lead of the game, 14-11, with just 43 seconds left.
Jack Rautiola scored with 18 seconds left to complete his hat trick, but it was not enough as Endicott held on for the 14-12 triumph.
Morgan finished with seven points on six goals and one assist to lead the Endicott offense.
Bell was under constant fire throughout the game by a Middlebury attack that narrowly outshot Endicott 40-36. Bell put up a season-high 16 saves, however, as he improved to 6-2.
Middlebury's offense was led by Rautiola, who had a team-high five points on three goals and two assists. Broome finished with four goals, while Tim Giarrusso had two goals and two helpers.
Endicott owned an 18-12 face-off advantage. Tommy Hughes scooped a game-high 13 ground balls, as the Gulls held a 37-24 ground ball advantage. Defensively, Breck Merritt added four ground balls, while Chris Cooney chipped in with three.
For the Panthers, Jack DeFrino caused two turnovers and totaled four ground balls. Cal Williams scooped up a team-high five ground balls.