PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. — The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire men’s hockey team snapped Middlebury’s four-game winning steak during a 4-3 victory in the championship game of the PrimeLink Great Northern Shootout on Saturday.
Middlebury built a 1-0 lead 3:19 into the game with a goal from Matt Danner. Tyler Capello won a face-off on the left side and Danner fired a wrist shot over the shoulder of Blugolds goalie Zach Dyment. UW-Eau Claire tied the game 12:22 into the first period. Nick Techel had his initial shot blocked from the left side, but he skated toward the rebound and scored past Panthers goalie Adam Wisco. The Blugolds took the lead 2:18 later when Jarrad Vroman lifted a wrist shot from the left dot. The puck bounced off Wisco’s left shoulder before trickling over the goal line.
The Blugolds (8-0-1) took a 3-1 lead 41 seconds into the second period when Derek Hammer scored on a rebound. UW-Eau Claire made it 4-1 midway through the period when Jon Richards sent a wraparound pass to Cole Paskus on the left side. The Panthers created a solid scoring chance on a power play with three minutes left, but Zach Shapiro’s wrister from the left dot was saved by Dyment.
The Panthers pressed to get back into the contest at the start of the third period, but a quality chance by Shapiro from just outside the crease was saved by Dyment. Middlebury closed the gap to 4-2 when Emack Bentley tapped in a rebound at the 13:42 mark on a shot from the right point by Bret Pastor. The Panthers pulled goalie Brian Ketchabaw with 3:40 remaining in favor of an extra skater, as Shapiro scored his team-leading fourth goal of the season 30 seconds later on a rebound off the pads of Dyment. Ketchabaw again came off the ice with 57.9 seconds left, but Middlebury was unable to muster another decent scoring chance before the final whistle.
UW-Eau Claire outshot Middlebury 39-28, enjoying an 18-7 edge in the second period. Both teams went 0-for-3 on the power play. Wisco finished with 24 saves in 31 minutes of action, while Ketchabaw stopped all 11 shots he faced in the final 29 minutes. Dyment made 24 for the Blugolds and was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.
The Panthers (4-2-0) will travel to play Amherst at 7 p.m. Friday.