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Panther lax advances in NCAA Tournament - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Panther lax advances in NCAA Tournament

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MIDDLEBURY, Vt. -

Leading 9-7 in the third quarter, Middlebury (13-6) scored six-straight goals against Montclair State en route to a 17-8 NCAA Tournament first-round victory on Youngman Field at Alumni Stadium. The 11th-ranked Panthers, owners of a 33-12 all-time NCAA Tournament record, advance to face sixth-ranked Amherst on the road this Saturday in a round-of-16 match-up. The Red Hawks, champions of the Skyline Conference, end their season at 13-6.

After falling behind 1-0 on a Montclair State goal by Steve Danluk to open the game, Middlebury strung together three tallies in 48 seconds and too a 3-1 lead in the first quarter. The Panthers started the run as Taylor Pirie netted the equalizer at 8:23. Following a goal by Jon Broome nine seconds after Pirie's tally, Joey Zelkowitz capped the run with a couple of nifty stick moves on the doorstep of Red Hawks' goalie Lucas Jones.

Montclair State closed out the quarter with a pair of goals, as Zach Schreck and Michael Schreck each notched their first goals of the game. Michael Schreck's game-tying tally came with just seven seconds left in the opening stanza.

The teams exchanged goals in the second quarter before Tim Giarrusso made it a 5-4 contest at 10:01, taking a cross-crease feed from Joel Blockowicz. Following a Zach Schreck tally that knotted the game at five-apiece, the Panthers went on another three-goal run. Blockowicz started the burst with a sharp-angle goal at 4:58. After Jack Rautiola made it a 7-5 game at 3:30, Broome netted a transition goal at 1:59. With 22 seconds left in the half, Michael Schreck answered for the Red Hawks netting his second goal off a feed from Zach Schreck.

After another exchange of goals opened the third quarter, the Panthers started their decisive run. Following Kyle Soroka's second goal of the quarter, Broome netted his hat-trick goal to close-out the third quarter. Broome's goal followed a strong Panther defensive performance, outlasting a 60 second two-man advantage by the Red Hawks.

With the Panthers holding a 12-7 lead to start the fourth quarter, the hosts added the final four goals of their six-goal run. Following a Henry Riehl tally at 12:24, Rautiola bookended a pair of goals around a coast-to-coast tally by Nick Peterson at 5:42.

As Middlebury held a commanding 15-7 lead in the waning minutes, the teams traded tallies before the Panthers' Nate Smith-Ide capped the scoring in the final minute for the 17-8 final.

Broome and Rautiola each netted three goals and had an assist to pace Middlebury. Blockowicz finished with two assists and a goal, as Reihl and Zelkowitz eached had a goal and an assist. Pirie ended the day with two goals, John Jackson won 17-29 face-offs and grabbed six ground balls. Peterson collected a game-best seven groundballs and caused two Red Hawk turnovers.

Will Ernst (13-5) played the first 57:20 in goal for the Panthers, making 12 saves for the win, while Gabe Weissmann added a save in the final 2:40.

Zach Schreck finished with a hat trick and an assist, as Michael Schreck chipped in two goals and two assists for Montclair State. Brett Mangan added two goals, while Blase Mantineo won 12-29 face-offs and collected a team-best six groundballs. Jones (13-6) played the entire game in goal, making 16 saves.

Courtesy: Middlebury Athletics

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