The fifth-ranked Hobart College hockey team knocked off Middlebury 4-1 in the championship game of the 2022 Friends of Panther Hockey Classic at Chip Kenyon ’85 Arena this afternoon. The Statesmen are now 9-2-1 overall this season.
With today’s victory, Hobart has won a holiday tournament in three of the last four seasons including two Middlebury Holiday tournaments (2018-19, 21-22). The Statesmen won the Boston Landing tournament in 2019-20.
Four different players scored a goal and seven different skaters registered a point for Hobart. Luke Aquaro led the way with a goal and an assist. Joe Halstrom started in goal and made 16 saves as he earned the victory. Halstrom and Aquaro were named to the all-tournament team for their efforts.
Paddy Bogart scored for the Panthers (1-3-0). Adam Wisco played all 60 minutes in goal for Middlebury, making 28 saves.
Cooper Swift nearly opened the scoring in the first minute of the game, but Adam Wisco stopped the shot from the point with his left pad. One minute later, Reid Lindsay opened the scoring. At the 2:56 mark of the period, he wristed a shot from the high slot past Wisco for his second goal of the season. Mark Benemerito and Shane Shell were credited with assists on the goal. PA Martineau nearly added to the Statesmen total at the 13:11 mark of the period, but his shot from the left faceoff circle was topped by Wisco. At the 13:59 mark of the opening period, Blake Coffey made it 2-0 with a blast from point through traffic. The power-play goal was his third goal of the season. Chase Bell notched an assist on the goal.
In the closing stages of the period, Bret Pastor had a chance in the low slot for Middlebury, but the bouncing puck was cleared away by a diving Hobart defender.
At the 1:46 mark of the second period, Andrew Malatesta had a scoring chance turned aside by Halstrom. Three minutes into the middle period, Lindsay almost had his second of the game, but his shot hit the left goal post. At the 8:19 mark, EMack Bently fired a shot from the right faceoff circle off of the goal post. Just over a minute later, Paddy Bogart ended the shutout bid. He picked up a loose puck in front of the goal and flipped a shot past Halstrom. His first goal of the season was assisted by Billy Dobensky and Andrej Hromic.
Just over 90 seconds into the third period, Luke Aquaro gave Hobart a 3-1 lead. He was trying to hit Dan Sliney with a crossing pass, but it deflected off a Panther defender into the upper right corner of the goal. It was Aquaro’s ninth goal of the season. Aaron Maguyon rounded out the scoring with an empty-net goal with 30 seconds remaining in regulation. Aquaro was credited with an assist on Maguyon’s 10th strike of the year.
The Panthers’ best chance in the third period came at the 10-minute mark. They broke into the offensive zone on a 3-on-1, but the play was interrupted by a back check from Jake Gresh who was rushing back into the defensive zone.
Hobart finished the game with a 32-17 edge in shots on goal. The Statesmen were 1-for-9 on the power play. Hobart’s penalty kill did its job not allowing a goal in Middlebury’s five power-play opportunities, including a five-minute major that spanned the first and second period.
The Statesmen will be back in action on Friday, Jan. 7, when it welcomes #8 Norwich to The Cooler. Faceoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
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