Middlebury fell to visiting Wesleyan 3-1 in a NESCAC contest on Saturday, as the Cardinals took a two-goal lead midway through the second period and never trailed. The Panthers (7-5-0, 5-3-0) travel to fourth-ranked Norwich for a 7:00 p.m. faceoff on Tuesday, while Wesleyan (7-5-0, 5-3-0) is at Plattsburgh State at the same time.
The teams skated through a scoreless first period, with Middlebury goalie Adam Wisco coming up with a highlight-reel save midway through the frame. Wesleyan’s Matt Zandi carried the puck into the Panther zone along the right side and at the last second slid a pass through the slot to Andrew Pratt. Pratt fired a shot on goal, but Wisco dove back across the crease to deflect the bid away with his stick. Middlebury’s best chance to get on the score with two minutes remaining on a turnaround shot by Paddy Bogart, but he was stopped by Cardinal goalie Tim Sestak and Tyler Capello then pushed the rebound wide.
The visitors jumped out to a 1-0 lead 4:09 into the middle stanza, as Emmet Powell jumped in from the point and snuck a shot from the right circle behind Wisco. Wesleyan doubled the lead just over five minutes later when Tyler Levine swept in a rebound on a shot by Michael Kerbrat.
Middlebury got on the scoreboard three minutes later, cashing in on a power play. Bret Pastor fired a shot from the high slot that Cole Joslin tipped in at the left post.
On the first shift of the final frame, Middlebury’s Matt Danner hit the post with a shot and Capello got a jab at the rebound that Sestak was able to smother. Sestak later made a nice left skate save on a shot from Joslin as he skated in on the left wing, keeping it a 2-1 lead. The Cardinals added an insurance goal with 2:25 remaining, as Quincy Gregg set up Levine one the left side for his second tally of the contest just as a power play expired.
The hosts pulled Wisco for an extra attacker after the Cardinals were whistled for tripping call, but were unable to break through on 1:54 worth of 6×4 play to keep the final at 3-1.
Wisco finished with 26 stops for the Panthers, while Sestak had 19 with Wesleyan holding a 29-20 edge in shots.
Each team had three power plays, with Middlebury scoring the only goal while on the advantage.