MIDDLEBURY, Vt. — In a battle of nationally-ranked NESCAC title contenders, number-three Middlebury downed number-nine Colby to remain undefeated in league play.
The Panthers used timely scoring and strong goaltending by netminder Christian Carlsson to earn a 4-0 win over the White Mules, who came into the game without a loss.
Middlebury jumped on the board first at 12:21 of the first period on a John Dawson goal. The Panthers were in the midst of a 5-on-3 power play when Tim Graham was whistled for interference at 11:33. As the first Colby penalty expired, the White Mules sent a man to the Middlebury blue line, where he received an outlet pass and skated in on Carlsson, who made a beautiful save. The Middlebury defense got back into their own zone and quickly moved the puck back up ice on their own odd-man rush that Dawson finished off for the 1-0 lead.
Three minutes later, in a scrum in front of Colby goaltender Chris Reis, senior Andy Campbell poked home a puck that Reis thought he had smothered; the puck crossed the goal line by just a few inches, giving the Panthers a 2-0 lead.
Early in the second period, Middlebury’s Kevin Cooper fed J.F. Duchesne in the slot, and Duchesne wristed home the puck for a 3-0 Middlebury margin. The rest of the second period was marked by back-and-forth play, with a number of strong saves by both goaltenders. At 3:50 of the second, Carlsson stoned Colby on a breakaway, and then three minutes later Colby put a puck off the cross bar.
Just fourteen seconds into the third period Matt Dunn brought the puck into the Colby zone, moved in on Reis’ stick side, faked the shot and moved across the top of the crease before putting the puck past the sprawling Colby goalie for a 4-0 lead. The rest of the game was scoreless, with Reis stopping several tough Middlebury attempts. With less than nine minutes left Dave Greiner put a shot off the crossbar, and Reis stoned Cooper on a point-blank shot off the rebound. Then with five minutes left, Reis managed to grab the puck after it flipped over his head almost into the net and then bounced back towards him.
The Panthers finished the game with 27 shots, 23 of which Reis stopped; Carlsson blanked Colby on 24 shot attempts. Carlsson earned his complete fourth shutout of the season, following up on a 4-0 blanking of Hobart that made him Middlebury’s career leader in shutouts. Carlsson lowered his GAA to 1.26 after allowing only two goals in the past four games. With the win, Middlebury moves to 10-1 and 7-0 in NESCAC play, while Colby’s first loss of the season puts them at 7-1-2 and 5-1-2 in NESCAC play.