MIDDLEBURY, VT -- The Williams College Ephs (15-6-1, 12-4-0 NESCAC) defeated the Middlebury College Panthers (8-11-3, 6-7-3 NESCAC) by a score of 5-3 on Saturday, February 15 at Kenyon Arena. Following Williams' 3-2 home win last night in OT, the two teams played another back-and-forth game this evening. The eventual game winner came when Niko Karamanis '22 scored just 50 seconds into the final frame to make the score 4-1. Following a nice defensive play from Jack McCool '21 on the right side of the offensive blue line, Karamanis fired the puck on goal from the top of the right circle, and the shot went through the Middlebury goalie's legs to give Karamanis his 11th on the season and the Ephs a three-goal lead in the game. The goal was Williams' fourth unanswered after Middlebury opened the scoring in the first period.
On the opening goal, the Panthers capitalized with one second remaining on their third power play chance. Alex Heinritz backhanded it from the left faceoff dot towards the Ephs' goal, and the puck deflected off of an Eph defenseman and into the net to put Middlebury ahead at 15:14 of the first period. Brendan Dawson and Billy Dobensky assisted on the play. Shots finished 12-5 in favor of Middlebury.
Down 1-0 after the first, the Ephs took advantage of one of their three second period power plays to level the score at 1-1. After some nice puck movement by the Ephs, McCool fired a shot towards the Middlebury goal from the top of the left circle. The puck deflected off of Bobby Beniers '21 in front and bounced to Nick VanBelle '21 on the right side of the net, who jammed the puck into the cage 4:21 into the second.
After VanBelle's third goal of the season, Mac Carso '23 gave the Ephs the lead after he received a pass off the boards from Jack Forrest '22 in his own zone. Carso raced through the neutral zone and put the puck between Middlebury defender's legs at the blue line, then ripped a shot from just below the right faceoff dot into the top right corner to give Williams the lead with 8:22 left in the period. The goal was Carso's sixth on the season.
The Ephs doubled their lead with 3:19 left in the period when Tyler Scott '21 scored his ninth of the season in a four-on-four situation. After a nice defensive play, Peter Christie '20 found Scott in the neutral zone, who skated past the Panthers' defenseman wide to the left side, then cut inside and shot the puck past the Middlebury goaltender to give the Ephs a two-goal lead going into the third period. The Ephs took control in the second period and outshot the Panthers 12-3.
The Ephs' three-goal second period was praised by head coach Bill Kangas. "Give Middlebury a lot of credit for the way they came out in the first. They put us on our heels and we had to kill three penalties. [Going behind] started from us not doing the right things, we didn't move our feet, we overhandled pucks. We really competed well and stepped it up in the second."
Following Karamanis' aforementioned goal, McCool got his third point of the night when he scored his second goal of the season at the 7:09 mark of the third period. On the goal, the Ephs won control of the puck down low, and Wyatt Glover '20 shot the puck at the Middlebury goal from the left side of the zone, with the puck deflecting off of Scott and fell kindly to McCool. He ripped a shot from the top of the right faceoff circle and past the Middlebury goalie to give the Ephs their fifth unanswered goal.
The Panthers did not let up late in the third despite being down by four goals. On the power play with 5:05 left to play, Mitchell Allen scored for the Panthers to cut the lead to three. Owen Powers and Antoine Belisle were credited with the assists on the goal. Under three minutes later, with 2:15 left to play, Powers got his second point of the night on an unassisted goal to cut the Ephs' lead to two, and the Ephs held out from there.
Last night's win was certainly on the Ephs' mind before the game. Kangas said, "it was an emotional game after they scored late in the game last night. It's hard to go on the road and play the same team twice in a row. [Cosimo Lazzarino '22] played really well in net. We'll enjoy this win now and get some rest. We have a tough two game home series next weekend."
Shots for the game were 28-26 in favor of the Panthers. Ephs goaltender Lazzarino had 25 saves. For the Panthers, goaltender Brian Ketchabaw made 14 saves. Adam Wisco came in relief early in the third period and made 7 saves. Faceoffs finished 34-26 for Middlebury. The win means the Ephs remain at the top of the NESCAC for the time being.
UP NEXT: The Ephs host the Hamilton College Continentals (10-8-4, 9-5-2 NESCAC) on Friday at 7 pm. Hamilton's five game win streak was halted this afternoon by Connecticut College.