Hockey and Middlebury Battle to 2-2 NESCAC Tie in Malden

MALDEN – Both Tufts and Middlebury earned a hard-fought point as the teams tied 2-2 in a NESCAC men's hockey game Saturday afternoon at Valley Forum.

Tom Tresca got the Jumbos started with an early power-play goal

Both teams scored first-period power-play goals and then tallied less than a minute apart in the second period to finish in a draw. The Jumbos move to 5-11-2 overall and 2-8-2 in the league. Middlebury, which completed the conference weekend undefeated including their win at Connecticut College on Friday night, is now 8-8-2 and 5-5-2 in NESCAC.

The Jumbos took advantage of their first power play of the game to gain a lead. Freshman Cal LeClair sent a pass out to the blue line where sophomore Tom Tresca one-timed it through traffic past Middlebury goalie Adam Wisco at 3:38 of the opening period.

Middlebury returned the favor on their first power play. Freshman Cole Joslin drove towards the net and sent a late pass to junior co-captain Owen Powers on the doorstep. Tufts freshman goalie Josh Sarlo slid over to make the save, but the rebound went right to junior Mitchell Allen who potted it to tie the score with 1:48 remaining in the opening period.

After both teams killed early power plays in the second period, Middlebury grabbed the lead on a great individual effort by freshman Emack Bentley. Not long after the Panther man-advantage had ended, freshman defenseman Bret Pastor chipped the puck up to Bentley. He charged in on Sarlo from the right, drew the puck left across the goal mouth and scored at 5:12 to put the visitors up 2-1.

However, the Jumbos would answer only 56 seconds later. After a face-off win went back to junior defenseman Jordan Haney, he found senior captain Clay Berger open in the face-off circle. Wisco saved Berger's shot, but junior Machlan Sawden jammed in the reboud to tie the score at 2.

The third period would be the most action-packed as both teams tried to take the victory. Wisco was sharp in one segment where Tufts won three consecutive faceoffs in the Middlebury zone and tested him with three shots each time. The Jumbos were able to kill an early power play in the period and the game would go to overtime.

Middlebury had more of the possession in the extra frame, putting two shots on net. Tufts had a dangerous opportunity when a Middlebury defenseman's stick broke. However, the Jumbos weren't able to capitalize and the game ended in a draw.

The Panthers held Tufts to 1 of 6 on the power play as those opportunities helped the Jumbos out-shoot Middlebury 30-24. Wisco made 28 saves. Bentley blocked three shots in addition to his goal for the visitors.

Haney and Tresca both finished +2 for Tufts, who got 22 saves from Sarlo. Junior Ross Delabruere blocked three shots.

Tufts hosts home-and-home NESCAC action versus Connecticut College next weekend. Middlebury hosts Wesleyan and Trinity.