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Thursday, Jun 20, 2024

Men’s Hockey Falls to Amherst

Men’s hockey finished up its regular season with a tough 4-1 loss at Amherst this past Saturday, Feb. 16. Just the day before, the Panthers went into overtime away at Hamilton to end up with a tie at three-all.

Though this weekend marks a discouraging end to the regular season, what’s in the past is in the past as the Panthers gear up for a postseason surge. The NESCAC quarterfinals, which will be held next Saturday, Feb. 23, brings a new beginning and a fresh chance for the Panthers to show their stuff. Middlebury will begin its run for a conference title on the road against Wesleyan. 

“The playoffs [are] a new season. The regular-season history has no real implications now that we are in the playoffs. We have been playing really good hockey and are peaking at the right time, ” said captain Jimmy McKee ’19.

However in preparing for the big game, the Panthers are looking to not repeat the same mistakes made earlier this season, as the past two times Middlebury faced Wesleyan both ended in losses.

“The first two games against Wesleyan did not go the way we wanted. A couple tough bounces did not go the way we wanted,” acknowledged McKee. “Like I said, we are playing good hockey, and I hope that they underestimate our ability. We will be ready to come out and play on Saturday afternoon.”

Wesleyan also holds a 15-7-2 record while Middlebury stands at 8-12-4, thus getting a home advantage. Although it’s possible this could impact Middlebury’s play, the team has been more or less equally consistent both home and away, with a difference of only one more win at home.

Growth throughout the course of the season is also in the Panther’s favor. The squad “[has] made significant improvements because of their efforts with training and building team chemistry last spring, in the fall, and throughout the season,” recognized coach Neil Sinclair. “We are looking forward to playing Wesleyan in the playoffs.”

Wesleyan may have the record, but Middlebury has the drive to stay alive in this competition.