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Men’s Ice Hockey Moves into Third Place in NESCAC with 3-1 Win over Middlebury

Photo by Lianne Yun '18
Photo by Lianne Yun '18

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – Six different players registered a point for the Wesleyan University men's ice hockey team on Friday evening, as the Cardinals earned a crucial 3-1 NESCAC victory over Middlebury at the Spurrier-Snyder Rink in Middletown, Conn.  

HOW IT HAPPENED:

  • The Cardinals (10-5-4, 6-4-3 NESCAC) made a move in the NESCAC standings, going from the No. 4 position to the third slot, as the team is trying to earn home-ice advantage in the quarterfinal round of the NESCAC Tournament for the first time since the 2006-07 season.
  • After each team tallied eight shots in the first period, Wesleyan took command of the game with a decisive 21-1 edge in shots during the second frame. The hosts went on the board with a 4-on-3 goal at the 10:12 mark of the second, as senior forward Cam McCusker rifled a pass over to junior defenseman Sean Ross in the right circle, and the San Diego, Calif. native sent a blast into the back of the net.
  • Freshman defenseman Matthew Zandi then buried a goal during a 4-on-4 situation from the left doorstep off a feed by sophomore forward Tyler Wyatt with 5:33 remaining in the middle period. The goal was the first game-winning tally of Zandi's career, and it came with one second remaining on Frank Cosolito's five-minute major penalty for boarding.
  • The Panthers (4-13-2, 2-9-2 NESCAC) certainly made things interesting with 12 minutes remaining in the game, as junior forward Kamil Tkaczuk won a puck along the boards deep in the offensive zone on the right side. He then sent a pass right across the crease, and sophomore defenseman Brett Dineen was the recipient, as the Marion, Mass. native redirected the puck into the net.
  • With 7:40 remaining in the contest, senior assistant captain Jordan Jancze sent a backhand shot from the right circle pass the goal line off a nice feed into open ice by junior defenseman Mike Yablong.
  • The Panthers emptied their net with 4:05 left, facing a two-goal deficit and generated some offensive-zone possession, but Cardinals sophomore goalie Tim Sestak came up with four saves down the stretch to keep the lead intact.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS:

  • Wesleyan swept Middlebury this regular season, as the Cardinals defeated the Panthers, 6-1, on Jan. 6 in Middlebury, Vt. The Cardinals have also won three of the last four meetings against Middlebury.
  • Wesleyan held a 40-17 edge in shots, as Sestak (6-3-4) made 16 saves in the victory for the hosts. Panthers senior goalie Stephen Klein (4-12-2) made a game-high 33 stops in the loss.
  • Wesleyan went 1-for-6 on the advantage, and Middlebury was 0-for-1, as there was a total of eight penalties for 19 minutes.
  • The Cardinals were superb in the faceoff dot, winning 39-of-57 draws, with sophomore forward Walker Harris leading the charge with an 18-for-23 effort.

UP NEXT:

  • The Cardinals will look to keep climbing the NESCAC standings with a 3 p.m. matchup against Little Three-rival Williams on Saturday at the Spurrier-Snyder Rink.