The fans were finally treated to a great game this weekend. The Middlebury Panthers and Salisbury Sea Gulls put on a spectacular show ending in a 14-13 overtime win for the Gulls. The field conditions were worse today then yesterday, but they worked with what they had. In the first half it looked like it would be a blowout with Salisbury taking a 10-4 lead. The Panthers refused to fold like a cheap tent. By the end of the third half they narrowed the gap to 11-8 and with 6:19 left in the game they were leading 13-12. In the end the first half hole Middlebury dug was too deep.
Middlebury’s goalie Eric Krieger was outstanding in net making 19 saves. He out played his counterpart in Dan Korpon, but with under a minute to go he made the save of the game. Mike Saraceni ripped a point blank shot that Korpon stabbed with a cat like reflex to keep the score knotted at 13 a piece. Andy Murray was the star of the game for Salisbury winning 19 of 29 face offs, but none were more important than the opening face in overtime. Murray won the ball clean to set up the winning goal. Murray moved the ball down behind the goal to Chris Lauer at X. Lauer pushed towards the goal to his right and hit Chris Phillips who popped of f a pick to get open 10 yards out to goalie’s right. It was a set play with three guys on the crease and it worked to perfection. All the Gulls threw their equipment on the ground and tackled Phillips behind the goal in jubilation.
Andy Murray opened the game with a face off win to set up a Scott Simmons shot that Krieger stoned. Murray face off wins and Krieger saves would become a trend throughout the game. At 12:55 Middlebury drew first blood on a sweep to the right. Mike Frissora let it go on the run and it scored low and away along the left pipe. Middlebury had a great shooting day with very accurate shots and Korpon didn’t give them too much resistance. Bergey scored moments later, but a crease violation negated it. Andy Arnold argued the call with a ref and got an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty to give Middlebury their first man up. The Panthers ran a 3-3 offense that managed 2 outside shots. One went wide and the other was saved. After Salisbury weathered that storm they got their first goal. Bergey ripped a shot from the low righty crank spot that Krieger saved, but the rebound went right back to Bergey. He took the ball down past goal line extended before hitting Andy Arnold on the backside crease for a lefty dump in, 1-1.
Andy Murray got tripped on the next face off by Brian McGregor who served time for the infraction. Penalties were a big issue for Middlebury in the first half. They played great man down defense, but they took 7 penalties for 5 minutes in the first half. The first penalty cost the Panthers when Chris Phillips converted a Corey O’Neil feed on the low lefty side, 2-1. Greg Bastis got his first of three goals on the day for Middlebury at the 7:38 mark. He swept to the right and beat Korpon with another low and away shot. Bastis’ shooting ability on the full sprint was impressive. The Panthers killed another penalty well before getting another goal. In a fast break Mike Saraceni worked the ball down low to Charley Howe standing in Korpon’s personal space. Howe finished to make it 3-2. Charley Howe took Middlebury’s next penalty for pushing. The Panthers killed that, but they weren’t as good on the next penalty for an undisciplined crosscheck by Brian Gault. They actually shut the Gulls down for the most part until there were only a few seconds left of the penalty. The ball was on the ground at the top of the box and Chris Phillips was able to come up with it leaving some Middlebury guys out of position. He quickly fed it down low to Josh Bergey who faked high and scored low, 3-3. That goal came with 28 seconds left in a first quarter which Salisbury dominated, but Middlebury kept it even with very efficient offensive sets.
Andy Murray drew another penalty on the opening face of the second quarter. This time Brian McGregor would do time for holding. The Panther shut the door on that but moments later at 12:12 Salisbury took a 4-3 lead. Justin Smith swept to the right and beat Krieger waist high along left pipe, 4-3. That was the beginning of the flood gates being opened. Bergey fed Joe Tamberrino for the next one, 5-3. Tamberrino and Bergey reversed roles on a fast break, 6-3. At the 8:01 mark Tamberrino backed in along goal line extended. When he got close to the goal the crease slide came leaving Murray open on the crease. Tamberrino stepped out and fed Murray who faked high, shot low, 7-3. Mike Frissora scored Middlebury’s last goal of the half on a lefty sweep. His on the run side arm shot smacked the upper right corner, 7-4. Bergey restarted the Salisbury onslaught when Chris Phillips got the ball to him all alone to the goalies left. Bergey threw two fakes before sneaking it short side between left pipe and goalie’s shoulder, 8-4. Tamberrino fed from X to a cutting Scott Simmons for the ninth goal. Middlebury’s coach Erin Quinn had seen enough and called time out. His guys came out in a long offensive set, but Korpon came up with a huge save to thwart the attack.
Middlebury’s penalty problem intensified late in the half when Saraceni took a slash call and Dave Leach took an illegal check penalty within seconds of each other. The Panther were able to keep the Gulls at bay for the two man advantage, but with Leach still serving they made it 10-4. Bergey was standing 14 yards out on the wing to Krieger’s right when he ripped a pass to the opposite corner just outside the crease. The pass was high but Phillips jumped up and snagged it lefty. He was able to dunk it in the net before landing in the crease quite athletically. Middlebury was able to stop the bleeding for the remaining 1:42 of the half.
The Panthers regrouped during half time and showed a lot of character. Coach Quinn was talking about the half time talk and there seemed to be no panic. After a procedure call on the face off Middlebury was awarded the ball. Bastis took full advantage by scoring 13 seconds into the half. On a full sprint Bastis swept to his right and launched a laser to the opposite left corner, 10-5. The comeback was on. Between Krieger’s big saves and Middlebury’s rejuvenated offense everything started going the Panther’s way. Krieger stoned Murray and sprung close defenseman John West to clear the length of the field. West had an unbelievable game clearing the ball himself at least four times. He cleared down his left side and fed to X in the stick of Ben Tobey. Tobey quickly hit Saraceni on the other side to Korpon’s left. With little angle and defensemen closing Saraceni took a behind the back shot which would have gone wide, but somehow Korpon kicked it in himself, 10-6. Salisbury was back on the offense when a shot out of bounds was awarded to Middlebury when Krieger alertly beat Bergey to be closest. On the clear Andrew Giordano ran his defenseman into Christopher Davis just outside Salisbury’s restraining line. The d-middie ran into Davis’ back and left him hurt on the ground. Giordano continued down the right side taking full advantage by scoring on the run with a low bounce shot, 10-7.
On the next Middlebury possession Salisbury got a much needed defensive stand. First close defenseman Jeff Bigas helicopterred Tobey’s stick sending it spinning through the air. Middlebury won the ground ball so Brendan Dawson came up with a nice over the head take away check on Saraceni. Play got frenzied after that. Both teams were causing turnovers and making last minute checks as the ball went back and forth at a ridiculous pace. Jonathan Sisto registered the next goal by driving from X to his right and splitting a double team. He turned when he got five yards above goal line extended and beat Korpon, 10-8. Krieger stuffed Phillips on the other side of the field and then Bergey from two feet away. Salisbury controlled the rebound however, and set up Kevin Gemmel’s goal. Gemmel backed in from the top and when he got 15 yards away from the cage he turned to his right and ripped one that beat Krieger high with 2:52 left in the third, 11-8. Play went up and down for the remainder of the third, but neither team could get much going.
The Panthers struck early again in the fourth. On a delayed slashing call for Jeff Bigas, Tobey was able to feed Charley Howe from the side of the net. Howe finished to make it 11-9. The Panthers did not take advantage of the extra man, but they did strike again at the 12:58 mark. Saraceni flubbed a shot from 10 yards out to Korpon’s right, but luckily in went strait across to Sisto who stepped into a bounce shot to bring the Panthers within one, 11-10. A minute later Andrew Giordano took advantage of the short stick defender dodging diagonally towards the goal from the top corner of the restraining box. Giordano threw just about every fake in the book on Brian Oakley. Eventually he got close enough to beat Korpon to tie it 11-11.
Bergey had enough of that and put the Gulls back up 13 seconds later. Murray won the face off and got it to Bergey who rolled on close defenseman Ed Brown along goal line extended to get in on Krieger. The slide came late and Bergey beat Krieger to give Salisbury the 12-11 edge. Bastis took his short stick defender to the same spot as Giordano. Bastis beat his man as well and tied it up again, 12-12. Jamie Duke attempted the same play on Middlebury’s next possession, but close defender Eric Martin slid early drying up that well. Chris Phillips had a chance to put Salisbury back up, but his shot on the crease was miraculously blocked by West with Krieger caught out of position. Then, with 6:19 left in the tilt Middlebury took a 13-12 lead. In transition the Panther’s were able to get the ball down low to Charley Howe. Howe was standing 7 yards out to the goalie’s right. He wound up and faked a crank to freeze his defender. Then he went around him to take a closer look and finish low. Salisbury started to push and Andy Arnold got a brilliant opportunity shooting from point blank range. Krieger came up big again, but the rebound came back out to Salisbury. They worked it around and back to Arnold through Bergey. This time Arnold stuck it high after a few fakes, 13-13.
Both teams tightened up and got sloppy realizing everything was paramount with time running out. Quinn called a time out for the Panthers wisely with 2:44 seconds left. It resulted in a lengthy offensive possession, but nothing came of it. Salisbury cleared and couldn’t get anything going either. Middlebury got a turnover and went down in transition to set up Saraceni for the game winner. Saraceni was 10 yards out with enough time to wind up. His waist high stick side shot was stabbed out of the air with 27 seconds left to preserve the tie and force overtime.
Andy Murray started the overtime with yet another face off win and his last of the day. He took to the offense down the right side. Salisbury ran their Cardinal play which has all the attackmen on the crease picking for each other. Murray moved the ball to Chris Lauer at X . Lauer pushed the other side coming to his left and hit Phillips who pooped out of the pile up in front about ten yards out to Kreiger’s right. Phillips became the hero by beating Kreiger along the far right pipe, 14-13.
|Josh Bergey||(4, 4)|
|Chris Phillips||(3, 3)|
|Joe Tamberrino||(2, 2)|
|Andy Arnold||(2, 0)|
|Kevin Gemmell||(1, 0)|
|Scott Simmons||(1, 0)|
|Justin Smith||(1, 0)|
|Chris Lauer||(0, 1)|
|Cory O'neil||(0, 1)|
|Dan Korpon||12 (0.480)|