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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

Unbelievable

The men’s hockey team has had a season full of highlights, but perhaps none will top beating a team for the first time in 17 years. They did just that last Saturday, as the Beacons (9-12-2) defeated the then #6 nationally-ranked Middlebury College Panthers 4-3 at Clark Athletic Center.

Freshman sensation Eric Tufman scored two goals, while Steve Ebbole added a goal and an assist in knocking off the Panthers (14-6-2) for the first time since 1991. Previously, the Beacons were winless in their last 15 games against Middlebury. None of that seemed to matter Saturday, as the Beacons’ young players disregarded history and shocked the Panthers, who have won 3 of the past 4 Division III NCAA titles.

The Beacons have played several top teams tight this season, including a tie against Babson and losing to Norwich in overtime. Saturday was different, however. “This game shows that we can play against the best,” coach Peter Belisle said. “We’re not going to be satisfied with playing teams tight.”

Sophomore Ryan Donovan was fantastic in goal for the Beacons, turning away 42 shots and withstanding a frantic barrage of attempts by the Panthers in the final minute of play. Freshman Matt Astoff contributed 3 assists, Kris Kranzky added 2 assists and Devin Hutchinson scored his first collegiate goal.

The Beacons jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period, thanks to goals from Steve Ebbole and Hutchinson, which shocked the confident Middlebury fan base, who may have outnumbered Beacon supporters. After Michael Kretschmer scored a power play goal for the Panthers 7 minutes into the second period, Tufman answered with a goal of his own just 83 seconds later, giving the Beacons a 3-1 lead heading into the third period.

The Beacons surrendered two goals late in the third, with the tying goal coming with 2:02 left in the game. Following Casey Ftorek’s goal for Middlebury, the Panthers dog piled at the blue line, an uncharacteristically premature celebration that seemed to bristle the Beacons.

“The celebration definitely motivated our guys,” Belisle said. “After they scored, I heard Kranzky say to Tufman, ‘They’re a little too excited. Let’s calm them down.'”

True to Kranzky’s word, he and Tufman connected only 23 seconds later. Kranzky carried the puck into the left slot and fired a slap shot that Middlebury goaltender Ross Cherry turned away. Tufman collected the rebound and slid a wrap-around shot past the diving Cherry to give the Beacons a lead they would not relinquish.

“These guys worked so hard and had so much passion,” Belisle said. “Tonight, they were relentless, and that’s the only way to beat a team like Middlebury.”