Men's Hockey: Cadets skate to 3-3 tie with Middlebury

Men's Hockey: Cadets skate to 3-3 tie with Middlebury

(portions of release courtesy Middlebury Sports Information)

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – The Norwich University men's hockey team had its nine-game winning streak snapped, but it did extend its unbeaten streak to 10 straight with a 3-3 tie against long-time rival Middlebury on Tuesday night at the Chip Kenyon '85 Arena.

Middlebury scored a goal in each period, but second-ranked Norwich tallied with 6:08 left in the third to avoid the Panthers' upset bid. Tuesday marked the 152nd meeting in a series that dates back to the 1926-27 season, with Middlebury holding an 80-63-9 lead. However, the Cadets have owned the series as of late, sporting a 9-1-3 record in the last 13 meetings.

The Panthers (0-11-2) are on the road Friday, traveling to Plattsburgh State for a 7:00 p.m. faceoff, while the Cadets (13-1-2) are at Daniel Webster at 7:35 p.m.

Middlebury claimed an early advantage as the hosts took advantage of a power play. Travis Stephens caught up to an outlet pass along the right boards and dropped the puck to Kamil Tkaczuk, who wristed a shot from the circle past Cadet goalie Ty Reichenbach (Billings, Mont.) 1:35 into the contest.

Norwich struck for a pair of late goals with the first coming with 1:27 left in the opening stanza. Connor Evangelista (Wakefield, Mass.) kept the puck in at the right point and fed a pass to Tyler Piacentini (South, Weymouth, Mass.). Piacentini made a 360-spin move in front of Panther netminder Stephen Klein and backhanded a shot under the cross bar. The visitors took the lead 21 seconds later when Anthony Flaherty (South Boston, Mass.) scored from the slot on a give-and-go with Payton Baldillez (Arlington, Texas) as the Cadets led 2-1 at the intermission.

Norwich had a great chance to make it a two-goal lead with 8:39 remaining in the middle period when Flaherty raced toward Klein on a breakaway. Flaherty tried to sneak a shot past Klein's left side, but the Panther snared the bid with his catching glove.

Middlebury turned to its power play to pull even, needing only four seconds to score on the advantage. Vincent Gisonti won the draw in the right circle to Greg Conrad, who slid a pass to David Belluche. Belluche quickly one-timed a shot from just inside the blue line past Reichenbach at the 15:58 mark to tie the game.

In the third period, the Panthers pulled ahead at the midway point when Trevor Turnbull set up Conrad on the rush in the left circle. Conrad wristed a shot into the Norwich net for his fourth tally of the season at the 10:31 mark. The Cadets got the equalizer with just over seven minutes left in regulation when William Pelletier (St. Jean Chrysostome, Quebec) blasted a shot through Klein from the right circle.

In overtime, Norwich's Kevin Salvucci had the best chance to win the game for either team with a breakaway, but Klein made another key stop as the game ended in a 3-3 draw.

Klein finished with 28 saves for the Panthers, while Reichenbach posted 23 for the Cadets. Middlebury went 2-6 on the power play and Norwich scored one on three opportunities.

Norwich dropped Middlebury 3-2 in overtime earlier this season in the opening game of the 19th PrimeLink Great Northern ShootOut.