|Middlebury defeated Tufts 9-4 wrapping up the regular season for both teams. With the win, the Panthers (12-1, 8-1 NESCAC) clinched the top seed for the upcoming NESCAC tournament. The Panthers draw a first-round bye and will host the NESCAC semifinals and finals on May 3-4. The Jumbos (9-5, 6-3 NESCAC) earned a third seed in the tourney and will host a quarterfinal game against sixth-seeded Williams at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday.|
Tufts got on the board at the 6:14 mark in the first quarter when Connor Ginsberg fought off a double-team just outside the crease for the 1-0 lead. Middlebury retook the lead in the final minute of the first as Jim Cabrera netted the first of his game-high four goals with 30 seconds left. Chris Teves’ tally on a spinning move to the crease gave Middlebury a 2-1 advantage with just four seconds remaining. The Panthers added three more goals in the second quarter for a 5-1 lead at intermission.
Tufts cut the lead to 5-2 in the third on when Ryan Molly scooped up a ground ball in front of the Middlebury crease and slipped one past Panther goalie Pete Britt from the doorstep. Middlebury answered with two more goals including Cabrera’s nifty dodge from the left side for a 7-2 lead. Jamie Atkins’ tally off a feed from Ginsberg cut the lead to 7-3, wrapping up the scoring in the third quarter.
Pete Smith’s fast-break goal off a feed from Cabrera opened the scoring in the fourth quarter before D.J. Hassler responded with a goal at the 9:13 mark. Just over a minute later Cabrera capped the scoring at 9-4, as he cut to the crease collecting a nice feed from Mike Stone for the tally.
Cabrera’s four goals and an assist led the Panthers, as five others added goals and Stone added two assists. Ginsberg had a goal and an assist for Tufts, while three other Jumbos collected a goal. Britt made 11 stops in goal for Middlebury, allowing just four goals. His counterpart from Tufts, Matt Harrigan allowed nine goals and made 14 saves.