April 24, 2009

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Middlebury Snags Top Seed in NESCACs

from press releases

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. -   Trailing 8-2 in the third quarter against Williams, Middlebury went on a 8-1 run in the third quarter en route to a 13-11 victory at Youngman Field at Alumni Stadium on Friday. The second-ranked Panthers (12-1, 8-1) have won 11 straight games and will host Amherst in a Quarterfinal NESCAC playoff game on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. The Ephs were on a six game winning streak before the set back, drop to 7-6 overall and 5-4 in conference play. Their NESCAC playoff game is slated for Sunday as well against an opponent to be determined.

Williams jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first on goals by David Hawley and Michael Aclerno. Middlebury's Skyler Hopkins got one back with 7:25 left before Hawley tacked on his second for a 3-1 lead after one quarter.

Williams face-off specialist Corey Jacobs was superb in the first half, winning 8-10 opportunites, allowing the Ephs to build a 6-2 halftime lead. Sam Hargrove's underhand shot at 3:38 capped the scoring in the second set up by teammate Mike Ryan. Ryan was involved in the first two goals in the third, getting his second assist at 13:15 on a goal by Matt Crenshaw and scoring his second tally at 12:40, for an 8-2 Williams lead.

Middlebury's comeback started with a three-goal burst, highlighted by consecutive goals by Tom Petty 13 seconds apart including his second at 11:43. Mike Stone added his second goal of the game before the Ephs responded with Hawley's third tally and a 9-5 Williams advantage at 7:31.

The Panthers continued to attack, pouring in five more goals in 6:41 of action. Pete Smith scored two in a row, highlighted by intercepting a pass right in front of Williams goalie Michael Gerbush for the easy tally. Matt Ferrer got in on the two-in-a-row action, netting his pair at 2:23 and the game-tying goal with 56 seconds left in the third. Stone's laser from 10 yards out capped the impressive comeback, giving Middlebury their first lead at 10-9 with 15 seconds left in the third.

The Panther lead was short-lived as Jacobs won the ensuing face-off and scampered in for the 10-10 equalizer with 10 seconds left in the quarter. Williams regained the lead 11-10 at 10:29 in the fourth when Hawley, grabbing a groundball in transition, scored his fourth goal of the game.

On the ensuing face-off, Middlebury defenseman Matt Rayner collected a groundball and laced a bounce shot by Gerbush, tying the game at 11 all. Hopkins got the go-ahead goal off a nice driving feed from Tim Cahill at 7:37. With 3:56 left, Hopkins set up Petty on a cross-cage pass and a two goal cushion. The Panthers maintained possession of the ball for the final minutes, sealing the impressive comeback win.

Hopkins paced Middlebury with two goals and three assists, while Petty and Stone collected hat tricks and Pete Smith scored a pair and chipped in an assist. Hawley paced Williams with a game-high four goals, while Ryan netted tow and assisted on two others.

Peter Britt earned the win in goal for Middlebury, making seven stops, while Gerbush suffers the loss despite making 15 saves for Williams.

Despite losing 20-29 face-offs, Middlebury out-shot Williams 51-27 and had a 53-36 groundball advantage. Additionally, the Panthers forced 10-19 failed Ephs clears, while converting on 17-19 clears of their own.


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