Trinity snapped Middlebury’s 20-game unbeaten streak as the Bantams topped the Panthers 4-2 to capture the 2003 NESCAC Championship. The win is the first conference crown for the Bantams after Middlebury had won the first three tournaments.
Trinity receives an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, while Middlebury will hope for an at-large Pool “C” bid when the pairings are announced Sunday night.
Trinity got on the board first at the 6:16 mark as Peter Langella hit Ryan Stevens with a crossing pass in transition for the goal. The Bantams continued to charge at the 9:00 mark on the power play, but Stevens was turned away on the doorstep by Yen-I Chen.
Middlebury had a chance to tie the game at 7:15 of the second period, but Tim Graham was denied by Douglas Kiselius after a nice shot down low. Instead, Trinity came back at 12:04 as Steven LaBrie beat his defender on the left wing and then snapped a shot into the top left corner of the net.
Middlebury answered just 24 seconds into a power play at 14:46 as Kevin Cooper put home a rebound from the doorstep after a shot from Shady Young. The Bantams came back, just 43 seconds later, as Dan Gyllstrom scored from the slot on a rebound following a shot from Cameron Finch.
The Bantams sealed the game with an empty-net goal at 16:37; Joseph Ori buried a slapper from close range. Patrick Nugent cut the lead to 4-2 with 1:35 left on a power-play goal, but it wasn’t enough as Trinity came away with the win.
Chen made 13 saves in goal for Middlebury, while Kiselius made 32 stops for Trinity. The Panthers outshot the Bantams, 34-17.