NORTHFIELD, Vt. — No. 12 Middlebury advanced to the championship game of the 15th annual PrimeLink Great Northern Shootout with a 3-2 win against No. 5 Plattsburgh. The Panthers (2-0-1) advance to the final at Norwich, where they will take on Norwich or St. Thomas in the title game.
The game opened with a fast-paced first period. Plattsburgh’s (5-2) Nick Jensen tried to get on the board early, but his attempt was denied by Panther goaltender Nick BonDurant.
The Cardinals were able to score late in the period when Andrew Smith dropped a pass for Jared Docking. Docking fired a slap shot that got past BonDurant to give Plattsburgh a 1-0 lead with 3:59 remaining.
The Panthers tied the score at one when Derek Pimentel knocked home a rebound at the 11:17 mark. Riley Dickie and Thomas Freyre picked up assists on the goal.
Middlebury freshman Evan Neugold gave the Panthers a 2-1 lead with 4:39 left in the middle period, making a move around a Cardinal defender and lifting a shot over goalie Mathieu Cadieux’s shoulder.
The Panthers had another opportunity early in the third period with a two-on-one, but Trevor Pollock’s shot went high over Cadieux. A minute later, back-to-back penalties opened the ice for a 4×4 opportunity and Middlebury quickly made it 3-1 with a goal by George Ordway with 5:51 gone in the third.
With 11:55 remaining in regulation, Plattsburgh State cut the deficit to 3-2 on Alex Brenton’s fourth goal of the year. Brenton took a cross-ice pass from Patrick Jobb and beat BonDurant on the back post.
The goal gave the Cardinals a boost of momentum for the remainder of the third, but Plattsburgh was unable to find the back of the net. Later in the period, Ryan Farnan had a chance to net the equalizer but Farnan’s shot was stopped by the left pad of BonDurant. Docking was also battling to score the game-tying goal, but his shot from the middle of the far circle was blocked by a Middlebury defender.
The Cardinals finished with a 25-21 advantage in shots on goal, while both squads went 0-3 on the power-play. BonDurant turned away 23 shots to improve to 2-0-1 on the year, while Cadieux recorded 18 saves in the loss, dropping to 3-2-0 for the Cardinals.