Middlebury men skate to first win

MEDFORD, Mass. — The Middlebury College men’s hockey team split two NESCAC road games this past weekend, including earning its first victory of the winter. The Panthers, 1-5 overall and 1-3 in league play, hit the road again this weekend for NESCAC games at Hamilton on Friday and Amherst on Saturday as they close out their first semester.

On this past Saturday Middlebury goalie Stephen Klein posted 37 saves and his defense blocked another 24 shots and the Panthers made two early goals stand up in a 2-0 win over host Tufts (1-5-1, 0-3-1 NESCAC). 

Vincent Gisonti scored just 43 seconds into the game. Gisonti netted the rebound of a Brendan Dawson shot, Michael Fahie getting the second assist. The Panthers extended the lead with Jimmy McKee’s shorthanded goal at 12:30. Alex Heinritz pounced on a turnover in the neutral zone and set up McKee for a one-timer for his first goal of the season. The assist was Heinritz’s first point as a Panther.

In a scoreless second period the Panthers had an effective penalty kill, after which Klein made key back-to-back saves on shots by Craig Uyeno and Charley Borek. Klein made 14 saves in the period.

The teams traded chances midway through the final period. Klein denied Mason Babbidge as he cut across the slot, and less than a minute later, Middlebury’s Mark McLellan found some room in the between the circles and whistled a shot high.

Klein also stopped Brian Brown from the top of the crease with 7:31 remaining, and the Panther defense did not allow any quality chances in the final 2:08, when the Jumbos pulled goalie Drew Hotte (12 saves) for an extra attacker. Klein’s shutout was the ninth of his career.

On Friday host Connecticut College (2-2) dealt the Panthers a 5-0 setback, scoring twice in the opening period and not looking back. The Camels outshot Middlebury, 34-28, and Connecticut goalie Connor Rodericks made 28 saves. Klein finished with 29 saves for the Panthers.

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