Posts Tagged ‘Middlebury hockey’

Panther hockey team bounces back

February 2, 2010

MIDDLEBURY — Two weekends ago, the Middlebury College men’s hockey team squandered a two-goal, third-period lead in a 7-4 defeat at New England College and suffered an embarrassing 4-0 loss at St. Anselm the next day.

Those setbacks, coupled with a couple other meltdowns, prompted the team to gather for an impromptu meeting when it returned to Middlebury. And while the players didn’t elaborate on the discussions they had behind closed doors, it’s safe to say it provided a necessary spark.

The Panthers have won three straight since that dreadful weekend in New Hampshire, their 5-3 pasting of No. 5 Plattsburgh on Tuesday night at Kenyon Arena serving notice that they have turned a corner.

“It was a wake-up call,” Middlebury junior forward Ken Suchoski said about the slide against NEC and St. Anselm.

Plattsburgh cut Middlebury’s lead to 3-2 with a goal in the opening minutes of the third period. Instead of wilting, like they had when surrendering five late goals to New England College, the Panthers stayed on the attack.

“There was a really good spirit on the bench which hasn’t been as consistent as would have liked this year, especially in the third period when they made it 3-2,” Beaney said.  “We’ve had a history this year of tightening up this year when it gets close in the third period and I thought our guys responded really well.

“I think they took a hard look at themselves,” Beaney said about the meeting. “We got together and said the coaching staff believes in you, you believe in each other; lets just got out, play hard and know we are going to make mistakes but we are going to get better. We are such a young team and developing a personality. We just didn’t want our personality to be one where we fold whenever it gets tight in the end.”

The reborn Panthers (10-3-4), ranked 10th in the nation, don’t have much time to celebrate their recent success, not with No. 2 Norwich coming to town on Friday for one of the fiercest rivalries in college hockey.

Bits and pieces …

January 20, 2010

A little bit of this, a little bit of that …

  • UVM’s and Shelburne’s Peter Lenes, a huge favorite of Ontario (Ca.) Reign fans, won the ECHL all-star skills competition for the 1-on-1 puck relay competition, beating former UNH standout Jacob Micflikier of the Florida Everblades by a stride. Lenes won the event Tuesday and was scheduled to play for the National Conference in the all-star game in Ontario on Wednesday.
  • Lenes isn’t the only ECHL all-star with Green Mountain ties. Former Norwich University standouts Nikita Kashirsky and Rick Cleaver were named to the American Conference squad.
  • Speaking of the Cadets, their freshman class has accounted for 46 of 77 Norwich goals this season, led by Kyle Thomas (11) and Blake Forkey (10). Eight freshmen forwards have contributed at least one goal for the second-ranked Cadets (12-0-3).
  • Middlebury hasn’t shown that kind of depth, but a mini-French Connection of sophomore Martin Drolet (8-14-22) and freshman Mathieu Dubuc (8-8-16) provide a nice 1-2 punch for the sixth-ranked Panthers (7-1-4). But the surprise of the year is senior goalie Max Kennedy, who’s 4-0-2 with a 1.22 goals against average and a .938 save percentage. Prior to this year, he had barely nine minutes of game time.
  • It’s that time of the year: Here comes Castleton. The Spartans opened the hockey season 1-5-1 overall and 0-4-1 in ECAC East. Since then, they’re 5-1-2 and 4-0-0. It’s getting to be a CSC tradition; start slowly, finish fast.
  • Chris Davidson is doing a nice job with the SMC men’s team, but here’s the reality: As long as St.  Michael’s remains a Division II school, the hockey team is unlikely to excel. No ECAC East or NCAA tournaments to offer as recruiting inducements. Wonder if with b-ball coach Tom O’Shea’s announced departure at season’s end if St. Michael’s will consider moving its athletic program to D-III. Unlikely, but a smart move if a viable league could be found, and forget about NESCAC.
  • As powerful as the UVM women’s basketball team was against America East opponents at Patrick Gym this season, the Catamounts went into Wednesday’s game at UMBC with one huge question mark: Are they anywhere near as good on the road as they are at home? They barely beat New Hampshire in Durham and had the luster taken off their first Top 25 ranking in nearly two decades at Boston University. At home, nothing but routs.
  • That big Marqus Blakely block against Hartford was impressive Tuesday, but Evan Fjeld’s behind-the-back pass for a Blakely jam topped that, if only because Blakely’s got a batch of highlight blocks and Fjeld’s pass was as surprising as it was spectacular.