No. 4 Tufts defeats No. 13 Middlebury 14-13 for eighth consecutive victory
MEDFORD, Maine -- Junior Dan Leventhal scored four second-half goals as No. 4 Tufts defeated No. 13 Middlebury 14-13 on Sunday at Bello Field.
Visiting Middlebury controlled the early and late portions of the game, but Tufts dominated more in the middle and came away with its eighth consecutive victory. The Jumbos improved to 8-2 overall and 4-2 in the New England Small College Athletic Conference.
Freshman Jon Broome finished with three goals and an assist for the Panthers (8-2, 5-2 NESCAC).
The Panthers charged out to a 4-1 lead, with Broome's second goal of the first period giving them the three-goal margin with 2:57 remaining. However, Tufts scored an unlikely goal as time expired in the period. With 5.7 seconds on the clock, Matt Callahan flung the ball upfield from near the Jumbos' goal. As the ball skidded through the Middlebury end, Tufts' Chris Schoenhut retrieved it and scored to pull the Jumbos within 4-2.
The goal seemed to give Tufts some momentum. It scored the first two of the second period and tied it at 4 with a Cole Bailey tally at 11:02. However, Middlebury responded with three of the next four goals and led 7-5 after Joel Blockowicz scored with 4:14 on the clock.
The Jumbos tied the score at 7 heading into halftime, starting a 9-1 run that gave the them a 14-8 advantage early in the fourth. The Jumbos outscored the Panthers 6-1 in the third quarter as Leventhal scored three times and Beau Wood added two more. Leventhal's fourth of the game gave Tufts the 14-8 lead early in the final quarter.
Middlebury rallied in the final nine minutes, scoring five unanswered goals by five different players to pull within 14-13. The Panthers had a man-up goal by Scott Redmond to start the run at 8:42 and then another by senior tri-captain Stew Kerr, making it a one-goal game with 24 seconds remaining. On the ensuring faceoff, Tufts' Brian Ruggiero got the win and the Jumbos were able to run out the clock.
Ruggiero won 16 of 29 faceoffs overall. Bailey led Tufts with five points on two goals and three assists. Wood had a four-point game and Peter Bowers scored twice. Defenseman John Heard caused three turnovers and finished with five ground balls. Garrett Read also caused three turnovers. Goalie Alex Salazar recorded 13 saves.
Mike Giordano added two goals and two assists to the Middlebury attack. Andrew Metros had two goals and an assist, while Blockowicz tallied twice. Zach Driscoll was excellent defensively, causing five turnovers. Goalie Nate Gaudio made 11 saves.
Middlebury had a 47-41 advantage in shots, though Tufts took ground balls 31-21. The Panthers capitalized on two of seven extra-man opportunities and held the Jumbos scoreless on their two man-up tries.