No. 12 Tufts fends off Middlebury
Wood leads Jumbo’s attack scoring four goals
MIDDLEBURY, Vt. -- Beau Wood scored four goals and Geordie Schafer added three as No. 12 Tufts earned a 10-9 win at Middlebury on Thursday afternoon.
Trailing 8-3 to Tufts late in the third quarter, Middlebury used a 5-1 run, closing the gap to 9-8 in the fourth. However, they could not net the equalizer in the final minutes and Tufts improved to 7-2 overall and 4-1 in NESCAC action. Middlebury dropped to 2-4 in conference play and 2-6 on the season.
The Jumbos took an early 3-1 lead after one quarter as Wood notched a pair including a man-up goal to close the period. Middlebury answered in the second quarter when Joel Blockowicz put a bounce shot on goal that appeared to ricochet off Tufts goalie Patton Watkins' stick and into the back of the net at 12:59.
Leading 3-2, the Jumbos closed out the half scoring two more goals including one off a nice feed by Cole Bailey to Schafer with 58 secondsremaining for a 5-2 lead at intermission.
Bailey set up Wood to open the third on a cross-crease laser helper at 14:03, and Schafer notched another at 10:09 for a 7-2 Jumbo advantage. Both teams exchanged scores before Middlebury strung three in a row in the final minutes of the third quarter.
Stew Kerr scored a pair during the burst, including his third of the game at 1:40, cutting the deficit to 8-6. Wood and Schafer connected with 11 seconds left in the third as Wood scored his fourth off a Schafer feed for a 9-6 lead after three quarters.
In the fourth, Middlebury's Bucky Pierce scored a man-up goal at 10:34, before Tim Cahill cut it to 9-8 after collecting a crossbar missed-shot groundball in front of the crease at 7:04. Bailey set up teammate Chris Schoenhut at 5:56, giving the Jumbos a 10-8 advantage before Andrew Metros struck for the Panthers 31 seconds later.
Trailing 10-9 with less than two minutes to play, Middlebury had a pair of possessions down the stretch, but did not get a shot on goal to tie the game.
For the game, the Panthers held a decisive 15-7 face-off lead, a 40-25 groundball advantage, outshot the Jumbos 34-29 and were three for five on extra-man opportunities.
Schafer added an assist for a four-point game to join Wood as the Jumbo point leaders. Bailey chipped in with a game-high three helpers. Nick Rhoads grabbed a game-best six groundballs. Watkins made eight saves in goal, allowing nine goals on the day.
Middlebury was paced by Jack Balaban's two goals and two assists, while Kerr collected a hat trick and Brian Foster won 15 of 22 face-offs. Nate Gaudio allowed 10 goals in net for the Panthers, stopping nine shots.