WILLIAMSTOWN, MA -- Williams (14-6-2, 10-5-1 NESCAC) defeated the Middlebury Panthers (9-1-3, 6-7-3 NESCAC) 5-4 tonight in Lansing Chapman Rink. Middlebury went up 3-1 midway through the second period, however the two goals scored by the Ephs in the third period, the first from freshman David Italiano, and the second and game-winning goal from senior Craig Kitto, gave Williams the edge in this contest.
"We were able to capitalize on our scoring opportunities tonight. I thought we really competed well, worked for our chances," commented head coach Bill Kangas. "We got down 3-1 pretty early on, then tied at three, and then we went down 4-3. I thought the guys really competed out there, did a great job. To come back against a good team like this this late in the year can help us, obviously going into the games next weekend, and then for playoffs the week after that as well."
Coming into tonight's match, the Ephs' record was 13-6-2, with a NESCAC record of 9-5-1. Middlebury's record coming into tonight's match was 9-9-3, and they were 6-6-3 in the conference.
These two teams met for the first time this season last night in Middlebury. The Panthers were victorious with a final score of 2-0. Evan Neugold and Ron Fishman were the contributors to the score sheet in yesterday's contest, Neugold with his seventh of the season, Fishman with his fifth.
In net for the Ephs in this match was senior goaltender Sean Dougherty, who had a .923 save percentage coming into this game. Stephen Klein was the netminder for Middlebury tonight, who had a .927 save percentage coming into this game.
The first goal of the game was scored at 12:06, when the Panthers took advantage of open space in front of the net. Sean Dougherty made the initial save for the Ephs, however Brendan McGovern buried the rebound to get his third goal of the season. Cameron Romoff (third assist) earned an assist on the play.
Williams responded to this goal on a broken play at 16:32, when freshman Dan Doherty scored his third goal of the season off of a loose puck from sophomore Alex Gonye. Gonye (fourth assist) and senior Brian McNamara (fourth assist) were awarded assists on the play.
The Panthers took the lead again at 18:20, when Middlebury's Jake Charles scored his team-high ninth goal of the season. Goaltender Dougherty made the initial save on the play, however Charles with a backhander easily buried the rebound in front of the net. Evan Neugold (sixth assist) and Brendan McGovern (sixth assist) earned assists on the play. This goal brought the game to 2-1.
Ephs' senior Craig Kitto took a hooking penalty at 18:32, and while the Ephs killed the penalty for the duration of the penalty, this sent them on the penalty kill for the start of the second period.
The first period ended with a score of 2-1 for the Panthers, with the shot count heavily in Middlebury's favor, 15-6.
Evan Neugold scored his eighth goal of the season at 6:24 of the second, making the game 3-1 in the Panthers' favor. After getting around both Eph defensemen, Neugold got to his forehand and beat dougherty on his glove side. This marked Neugold's fourth goal in the past four games, giving his team a two goal lead in this contest.
Williams responded to make the game within one on the power play after Max Greenwald was called off for interference. At 8:54, Greg Johnson scored his sixth goal of the season on the man advantage, with assists coming from sophomore Frankie Mork (second assist) and senior Craig Kitto (thirteenth assist). This goal brought the score to be 3-2.
The Ephs tied the game at three at 14:01, after sophomore James McNamara scored his first goal of the season after Williams created a lot of traffic in front. McNamara was assisted on the play by sophomore Sam Gray (sixth assist) and freshman Joe Welch (second assist).
After two periods of play, the score was tied 3-3, and the shot count was 24-14, in Middlebury's favor.
At 1:32 into the third period, Dan Doherty went to the box for tripping, giving Middlebury an opportunity on the power play to start the third period off.
Middlebury regained the lead at 2:31 on the man advantage, as Jake Charles finished his deflection off of a shot from the point, scored his second goal of the game, and his tenth goal of the season. Charles was assisted on the play by Cameron Romoff (fourth assist) and Brendan McGovern (seventh assist).
Williams tied the game at four at 6:51 into the third period. Freshman David Italiano, getting one through on his forehand, scored his eighth goal of the year. Italiano was assisted on the play by Craig Kitto (fourteenth assist).
Williams was given an opportunity on the power play at 16:12, as Cameron Romoff went the box for holding. At 16:54, Craig Kitto scored his eleventh goal of the year off of a one-timer on the left side. Kitto was assisted by Frankie Mork (third assist) and Greg Johnson (fifth assist). This goal gave Williams the lead for the first time in the game, the score now 5-4.
Middlebury was given an opportunity on the power play shortly thereafter at 17:18, as Alex Gonye was called to the box for interference. Middlebury was not able to convert on the power play, nor were they able to score for the remainder of the game. The final score finished in favor of Williams, 5-4.
Middlebury outshot Williams 39-23, however they were unable to recapture the lead after Williams scored their fifth goal late in the third period.
"I think the guys were just trying to find great, opportune times to shoot the puck. Middlebury blocked a lot of shots, in a game like this you've got to wait for your chances," noted Kangas on the low shot count for the team tonight. "You don't need a lot of shots on goal to win, you've got to get the right ones. I thought we were at our best today, competing in front of the net, screening the goalie for a couple of goals, and getting those loose pucks."
With this victory, Williams' overall record moves to 14-6-2, and 10-5-1 in the NESCAC. This game moves Middlebury's overall record to 9-10-3, and 6-7-3 in the conference.Middlebury next meets Amherst Friday at 7:00 PM. Williams next plays Hamilton Friday at 7:00 PM.