St. Michael’s Matt Schreiner scored 1:15 into overtime, as the Purple Knights slipped past Middlebury 4-3 in the opening round of the Middlebury Holiday Classic on Friday. The Panthers (6-3) will face Manhattanville, a 6-1 loser to Babson, in the consolation game Saturday at 2:00 p.m., while St. Michael’s (7-3-1) skates in the championship at 5:00 p.m. against Babson.
Middlebury nearly opened the scoring on the initial shift, as Tyler Capello had his point-blank attempt from just outside the blue paint denied by Purple Knight goalie Tim Decker. The Panthers moved in front with 11:15 expired, scoring off the rush. Matt Danner carried the puck into the zone on the left side and Mitchell Allen redirected a pass behind Decker for a 1-0 lead.
At the other end of the ice, Middlebury held St. Michael’s to only two shots on goal in the period and didn’t allow a shot until there was 6:39 showing on the clock.
The Purple Knights pulled even 4:16 into the middle period, as Noah Muller’s shot from the point found its way through traffic and into the Panther net. That goal came on the power play, ending Middlebury’s string of 16-straight penalty kills. St. Michael’s took its first lead four minutes later when Ethan Hendrickson poked in his own rebound on the doorstep after a nice feed from Schreiner. Middlebury knotted the score with 8:39 remaining, as Billy Dobensky ripped a one-timer from the left point on a setup from Brett Dineen.
The hosts had a golden chance to jump ahead with less than four minutes expired in the final frame, as Allen whistled a wrister from the right circle that Decker turned aside. Muller put the visitors back on top with his second tally of the contest, with a shot from inside the Panther blue line. Middlebury drew even just over five minutes later when Owen Powers found Brendan Dawson in the left circle, who scored on a rising shot for a 4-4 tie.
St. Michael’s won the game in the five-minute overtime when Schreiner cleaned up a rebound in front on shot from the point by Jeremy Routh.
Brian Ketchabaw go the start in goal for the hosts and made five saves in 24:17, while Adam Wisco made 20 saves in the final 36:51. Decker recorded 26 stops as each team finished with 29 shots.
Middlebury went 0-1 on the power play and the Purple Knights struck once in five opportunities.