Amherst Falls 2-1 in NESCAC Semifinals on Late Goal by Middlebury

Senior Kyle Schoppel scored the lone goal
in Amherst's 2-1 loss.

Courtesy of Colby College

WATERVILLE, ME - Jamie McKenna  (Lake Placid, N.Y.) scored with just 3:06 left in the game to give four-time defending champion Middlebury College a 2-1 win over Amherst College in a New England Small College Athletic Conference men's hockey semifinal game at Colby College's Alfond Rink on Saturday.

Middlebury, which has won seven of the eight NESCAC titles since the  conference started a playoff format in 2000, will take on sixth-seeded Trinity College in the title game at 1 p.m. Sunday at Colby. Middlebury beat Trinity in the 2002 and 2004 championship games, but lost its only championship to the Bantams in 2003.

After a turnover near the blue line by fourth-seeded Amherst (14-9-3), McKenna blasted home a point-blank shot for his eighth goal off assists from Justin Gaines (Mequon, Wis.) and Mickey Gilchrist (Ottawa, Ontario), who notched his 14th assist of the season.

The Lord Jeffs had tied the game at 1-1 at 9:14 of the third period when Kyle Schoppel (Cambridge, Ontario) came around the net on a stuff shot and poked home a second effort for his 15th goal of the season. Keith Nelson (Manalapan, N.J.) was credited with his 14th assist.

Middlebury (18-6-2), the second seed, opened the scoring at 9:13 of the first period when Mason Graddock (Stowe, Vt.) got his fourth goal of the year off a feed from Charlie Townsend (Pennington, N.J.).

Ross Cherry (Basking Ridge, N.J.) stopped 22 shots to move his record to 11-3-2 this season for the Panthers, while Jonathan LaRose (Boyle,AB) made 36 saves for Amherst, which was trying to get in the title game for the first time since 2001.