AMHERST, Mass. - The second-seed Amherst College men's hockey team used goals from David White '18, Andrew Fenwick '15 and Topher Flanagan '16 to pace the Jeffs to a 3-0 victory over No. 7 Middlebury College in Saturday's NESCAC Quarterfinal contest at Orr Rink.
With the win, Amherst improves to 19-4-2 on the season and will host No. 8 Tufts University (9-14-2) which knocked off top-seeded Trinity College in other quarterfinal action. Semifinal action is set for Saturday, March 7 at Orr Rink with game time yet to be determined. Middlebury concludes its season 10-12-3 overall.
In the opening period, Middlebury applied early pressure in its offensive zone as Amherst used six saves from senior goalie Danny Vitale to fend off the threat, including three from the Panthers' Evan Neugold.
The Jeffs responded with sustained pressure of its own in the middle of the first stanza as senior co-captain Mike Rowbotham and Austin Ho '17 each fired a shot on target. Middlebury goalie Mike Peters was able to turn aside each shot.
Vitale finished with 11 saves in the opening session to keep the game deadlocked at 0-0 after 20 minutes of play.
Just 1:18 into the second period, the Purple & White had its best opportunity at a goal when Flanagan broke free down the right wing, went in on goal and tried to place a centering pass to White, but the pass was just off target.
With under 15 minutes to play in the second period, Amherst, which was out-shot 11-2 in the first 20 minutes, continued to attack the Middlebury goal as Kevin Ryder '16 fired a pair of shots from the right point - one of which clanged off the post, while the other was saved by Peters. Max Greenwald then had an opportunity for a deep shot for the Panthers, but his drive was pushed away by Vitale.
At the 15:56 mark, the Purple & White found the back of the net as White was able to knock the puck into the goal following a scrum in front of the Middlebury net. Aaron Deutsch '15 and Flanagan provided the assists on the play as Amherst secured a 1-0 lead at the second intermission.The goal was White's team-leading 18th of the season.
Brendan Burke '16 added four shots on goal for Amherst in the second frame as the Jeffs stormed back to out-shoot the Panthers, 16-9 in the session. Middlebury held a slim, 20-18 edge in shots after 40 minutes of play.
With just 4:07 gone by in the third period, first-year defenseman Patrick Mooney found Flanagan in open ice but Peters was there to stave off his low shot. Just a minute later, Fenwick notched his sixth goal of the season to give Amherst a 2-0 advantage. Ho and defenseman Tyler Granara '18 delivered the assists on the scoring play.
With time winding down in regulation, Middlebury pulled Peters in favor of an extra skater. The Jeffs took advantage of the empty net as White controlled the puck in the neutral zone and forwarded a pass to Flanagan who deposited it into the back of the net for his eighth of the season to set the final score at 3-0.
Burke led Amherst with four shots on goal while Ryder and Ho finished with three shots on goal each. Vitale (12-3-2) was stellar between the pipes making 28 saves en route to the shutout victory.
Peters made 22 stops in the losing effort for Middlebury, while Greenwald and Neugold registered five shots on goal each.