WILLIAMSTOWN, MA -- The Williams Ephs (17-4-1, 13-2-1 NESCAC) outscored the Middlebury Panthers (6-10-6, 5-5-6 NESCAC) 3-2 at the Chip Kenyon '85 Arena tonight. This was the fourth consecutive game the Ephs let up the first two goals, but have come from behind to claim the victory. Junior Alex Hagerty scored the game winning goal in the third period to bring the Ephs their seventh straight win.
Williams has now won 12 of the last 13 games played, and has swept the Panthers in this two game season series. Yesterday the Ephs defeated Middlebury in Williamstown, defeating the Panthers 5-4 in overtime.
"Obviously we are playing really good teams, so these deficits are understandable," noted Williams' head coach Bill Kangas. "I think we played very well tonight. Middlebury scored on their chances, and we just hung in there."
At 18:12 of the first period, Williams' freshman Michael Lata was called to the box for boarding. Subsequently on the man advantage, Middlebury's sophomore Travis Stephens fired off his fourth goal of the season off of a play assisted by junior Mike Najjar (sixth assist) and senior Ronald Fishman (eleventh assist). After the first 20 minutes of play, the Panthers were up 1-0.
Shot count was an even 9-9 in the first period of play.
Middlebury gave themselves a two goal cushion at 11:26 of the second period. Senior Zach Haggerty shot one past freshman goaltender Michael Pinios off of a pass from Fishman (twelfth assist). This was Haggerty's seventh goal of the season, and extended the Middlebury lead to two.
Williams came back on the power play roughly two minutes later and began their surge to recapture the momentum. At 12:00, senior Evan Neugold was called for a two minute minor on account of slashing. At 13:33 of the second period, sophomore Colby Cretella, who scored the overtime goal last night, got one past senior goaltender Liam Moorfield-Yee, off of assists from junior Tyler Young (tenth assist) and freshman Roberto Cellini (ninth assist). This brought the game back to within one.
The Ephs tied the game at 14:49 of the second period, when sophomore Joe Welch fired one past Moorfield-Yee. Junior George Hunkele (eighth assist) and Cretella (fourth assist) were awarded assists on the play. This goal evened the game out at 2-2, and rounded out scoring for the second period.
"Clearly we'd love to have it a different way instead of coming back from two, as has been the trend recently," commented Kangas. "But you play the game that you are given, deal with the situations you are faced with. Looking ahead you never know what situation we are going to be in, so to get this experience under our belts has its benefits."
Shot count in the second period was 14-5 in the Ephs' favor.
The sole goal of the third period was scored by Williams at 3:10. Alex Hagerty scored his fourth goal of the season, and the game winning goal of the night, and was assisted on the play by senior captain Zander Masucci (11th assist).
The game ended with the score at 3-2 for the Ephs. Shot count in the third period was 12-9 for the Ephs, and totals for the game were 39-23.
"I thought we played sharper tonight than yesterday," said Kangas. "We want to keep improving, obviously; we still have a lot to work on."
Michael Pinios made 21 saves on the night, and Moorfield-Yee made 32.
Williams next plays Amherst at home on the 20th, with puck drop at 3:00 PM. Middlebury next faces off against Hamilton at home on the 20th at 4:00 PM.