By COURTNEY LEWIS
---- — NORTHFIELD, Vt. — Plattsburgh State played a fast-pace first period Friday, pressuring Middlebury most of the way.
But the Cardinals couldn’t sustain that through the second.
The Panthers tallied two goals in the middle frame to take the lead and went on to a 3-2 win in the opening game of the PrimeLink Great Northern Shootout men’s hockey tournament.
“The pace of that first period was as fast as I’ve seen in a long time — in over a year,” Middlebury coach Bill Beaney said. “Both teams were skating; we had a hard time keeping up with it. They kept putting pressure on us.
“We hung in there. Middle of the period we got some chances, and at the end we made the bad turnover and their guy buried it. And our guys weren’t discouraged; we’ve been coming back. We came out, and I think we were able to maintain the pace a little bit longer than they were.”
No. 5 Plattsburgh (5-2) will meet St. Thomas in this afternoon’s consolation game, while No. 12 Middlebury (2-0-1) will face Norwich for the championship.
Jared Docking gave Plattsburgh a 1-0 lead with a slapshot from the top of the left circle with just under four minutes left in the first period.
The Cardinals held a 10-7 advantage in shots in the period. The Panthers came out stronger in the second.
“I really think we went into the locker room after the first and just (said), ‘Calm down, settle down.’ Realized we just had to play our game; we could skate with them,” Middlebury goaltender Nick BonDurant said. “We weren’t really playing our game in the first, but we started to shape up and it worked out.”
Derek Pimentel tied it in the middle of the second period. Riley Dickie came in from the right side and was stopped by Mathieu Cadieux, but Pimentel took a couple of whacks at the rebound out front and found the back of the net.
With less than five minutes left, Evan Neugold skated in and lifted the puck top shelf to put the Panthers in front.
Middlebury increased its lead to 3-1 5:51 into the third when George Ordway showed persistence bringing the puck into the zone and scored unassisted from the slot during 4-on-4 play.
Alex Brenton put the Cardinals back within a goal a little more than two minutes later when he sped to the front of the net and redirected the puck past BonDurant.
Plattsburgh had a great chance a few minutes later, with Mark Constantine and Ryan Farnan coming down on a 2-on-1, but BonDurant turned away Farnan’s low shot from the right side. Docking later got open out front but only got a piece of the puck.
“We had some great looks (Friday),” Plattsburgh coach Bob Emery said. “We were not opportunistic at all. I thought in the third period alone we had three or four great chances to score, and we didn’t get the puck up. A couple open nets. And you don’t take advantage of that, you’re not going to win many hockey games.”
BonDurant finished with 23 saves for Middlebury. Cadieux had 18.
While Emery lamented the missed scoring chances, he was more unhappy with what went on in the other end.
“It’s the goals against that bother me. Two out of their three goals we did a very bad job in front of our net picking up sticks,” he said. “From a coaching standpoint, the mental mistakes are what you want to work on and kind of tick you off looking back at the loss.”
Tory Allan banged in Norwich’s first goal 5:50 into the second game. Norwich outshot Saint Thomas 16-4 in the second period. Shane Gorman tallied from out front 5:25 in, and the Cadets ended the period with a 2-0 lead.
The Tommies (5-4-1) climbed back in the third, with Tyler Richter putting them on the board at 5:23 and Rob Vannelli knotting it up with a shot from the left circle with just under six minutes on the clock. But shortly after the equalizer, Kyle Thomas scored on an odd-man rush to put the Cadets (6-0) back on top.
Matic Marinsek made 17 saves for the win.
Middlebury 3, Plattsburgh State 2
Plattsburgh 1 0 1 — 2
Middlebury 0 2 1 — 3
First period- 1, PSU, Docking (Smith), 16:01. Penalties: Brazier, Mid (tripping), 4:18. Pollock, Mid (tripping), 11:01. Beadow, PSU (hooking), 18:39.
Second period- 2, Mid, Pimentel (Dickie, Freyre), 11:17. 3, Mid, Neugold (Silcoff), 15:21.
Third period- 4, Mid, Ordway, 5:51. 5, PSU, Brenton (Popp, Jobb), 8:05. Penalties: Constantine, PSU (cross-checking), 5:10. Pollock, Mid (hooking), 5:16. Popp, PSU (holding), 9:44.
Shots on goal:
Plattsburgh 10 5 10 — 25
Middlebury 7 6 8 — 21
Goaltenders (shots-saves): Cadieux, PSU, 21-18. BonDurant, Mid, 25-23.
Power plays (goals-opportunities): Plattsburgh 0-3, Middlebury 0-3.
Norwich 3, St. Thomas 2
St. Thomas 0 0 2 — 2
Norwich 1 1 1 — 3
First period- 1, Nor, Allan (Janke), 5:50. Penalties: Niezgoda, Nor (interfernece), 7:09. Horgan, ST (boarding), 15:22. Altenbernd, ST (slashing), 19:47.
Second period: 2, Nor, Gorman (Niezgoda, Morgan), 5:25. Penalties: Allan, Nor (hooking), 10:11. Rose, ST (tripping), 10:24. Thomas, Nor (tripping), 14:26. Rose, ST, 14:26. Rose, ST (10-minute misconduct), 14:26.
Third period- 3, ST, Richter (Horgan, Vannelli), 5:23. 4, ST, Vannelli (Olson), 14:11. 5, Nor, Thomas (Cotnoir, Duszynski), 16:00.
Shots on goal:
St. Thomas 8 4 7 — 19
Norwich 10 16 10 — 36
Goaltenders (shots-saves): Fielding, ST, 36-33. Marinsek, Nor, 19-17.
Power plays (goals-opportunities): St. Thomas 0-2, Norwich 0-3.