MIDDLEBURY, Vt. — Without a bona fide superstar on their team, the Panthers continue to light up the scoreboard by getting contributions from a multitude of players. A four-goal outburst in a span of 1:23 at the end of the first period helped Middlebury rout Skidmore 7-1.
“Guys just started going to the net and making plays. We were working hard, and we finally saw the results. We fed off that emotion, and it just kept rolling,” said Middlebury captain Brian Phinney, who had an assist in the game.
The barrage of goals started with Tom Maldonado’s power play goal with 1:41 left in the first period. After James Guay and Levi Doria played catch at the point, Doria slid the puck to the far post for an easy tap in goal for Maldonado, who scored his first goal as a Panther.
As PA announcer Dave Sears was announcing the first goal, Shady Young buried his first goal of the season, assisted by Tim Graham, just 17 seconds after Maldonado’s goal, giving the Panthers a 2-0 lead.
The first two goals were still being announced as Young and Graham streaked back in the offensive zone. This time Young fed Graham who deflected the shot past the sprawling Skidmore goaltender, Pete Loring for the Panthers third goal, just 16 seconds after Young’s goal.
“The goal I liked the best was the Tim Graham goal, when he busted to the net, and Shady Young fed him with a perfect back door pass,” said Middlebury head coach Bill Beaney. “That was great stuff to see, because it was a hard work goal.”
The fourth goal of the period came fifty seconds later as Darwin Hunt squirted the puck to the front of the net where John Sales was able to bang it home for his second goal of the season.
Middlebury finished off the period with eleven shots, compared to Skidmore’s two.
Once again the young guys for Middlebury showed they could contribute. Four different freshmen contributed in the points department with Maldonado and Mickey Gilchrist scoring their first career goals as Panthers
“The [new players] are solid in all aspects,” indicated Beaney. Captain Brian Phinney added, “I think the young guys came out well. They’re very energetic and willing to listen, and that’s all you can ask for in a freshmen class.
Six different Panthers scored, while eleven different players produced points. In just two games, eleven different Panthers have scored, and seventeen have points.
The Panthers were successful in stifling the Thoroughbreds offense all game allowing only seven shots. Skidmore could only muster up one shot in the final period of play, going almost fifteen minutes without registering their first shot in the period.
“One of our strong points is being able to wear the other team down,” said Phinney.
The lone goal for Skidmore was scored on a remarkable play by their captain Pat Bigelow. While Panthers forward Scott Bartlett was in the box for hooking, Bigelow skated from end to end, beating a number of players before firing a low shot to the right of Middlebury goalie Yen-I Chen to get Skidmore back within three with 9:00 left in the second period.
Middlebury chipped in two power play goals on nine chances, after having eight chances in the previous game. After two games, the Panthers are ranked second in the nation in power play percentage converting at a rate of 35.3 percent.
Hunt scored the second power play goal for the Panthers with 6:14 remaining in the third. Phinney fired a shot from the point that rebounded to Hunt, alone in the slot. He made a move to his backhand and roofed it over the sprawling Loring to give the Panthers a 7-1 lead.
Middlebury moves to 2-0 on the season, while Skidmore drops to 0-2. Middlebury will host the Primelink Great Northern Shootout, and face-off against Plattsburgh in the semifinals, while Skidmore will play in the Babson Tournament against Gustavus Adolphus in the semifinals.