Grant Covington '12, Named NESCAC POTW, Makes Career-High 17 Saves, Aidan Daniell '14 Has 3-Point Game in 7-3 Men's Lax Win over Middlebury
Grant Covington '12 (#35, main photo) picked up a career-high 17 saves and allowed just three goals to backstop Wesleyan to a 7-3 victory over Middlebury, ranked 17th nationally, in an important NESCAC game Sat., March 24. For his effort during the week, as he posted an 85.7 save percentage and a 2.53 GAA over 95 minutes of work, Covington was named NESCAC co-Player of the Week. The teams had met in Middletown a year ago as well with the Cardinals knocking off the Panthers, 9-8 in overtime. Wesleyan has now defeated Middlebury seven times in the last 12 meetings since ending a 16-0 run by Middlebury between 1975 and 2005, and is 5-2 vs. Middlebury over the last seven regular-season battles.
Wesleyan jumped out to a 5-1 lead before the game was nine minutes old as Aidan Daniell '14 (#9, photo insert upper right) found the net twice, opening the scoring just :53 in with a bouncer off a feed by Joe Porcelli '14. Just 1:01 later, Teddy Citrin '12 made it 2-0, spinning in front from behind on the left to score his team-leading ninth goal of the season. When Porcelli and Daniell reversed scoring roles at 10:42, Wesleyan had a 3-0 advantage. Each team scored twice to close out the first quarter as Middlebury got a pair of goals surrounding Daniell's second tally, upping his seasonal goal total to six and giving him a three-point afternoon, and a goal by Graham Macnab '14, who hit the twine assisted by John Froats '12. The second Middlebury goal came on a man-advantage situation at 2:04 of the first period. There were only three penalties called in the well-played contest.
Despite seven goals in the opening 12:56 of the game, only one goal was scored over the next 33:46, that coming from Middlebury at 6:09 of the second quarter on a high shot, making it a 5-3 game. Wesleyan ended its scoring drought at 13:18 of the fourth quarter when DJ Benatavitz '12 rolled in front from behind the net on the left and put home a bouncer just inside the right post to give the Cardinals a three-goal cushion. Bernatavitz finished off the day's scoring with just 2:04 remaining as he bounced in a shot from the right side off a pass from Max Landow '12 with the Middlebury keeper out of the net trying to double-team the ball in an attempt to gain possession. They were the first goals of the season for Bernatavitz.
After the Middlebury goal in the second period, Covington, whose previous high-save game came against Tufts in 2011 when he stopped 15 shots, held the Panthers scoreless for the final 36:09, making 10 of his 17 saves over the stretch.
Up next for Wesleyan is a pivotal NESCAC home game against fifth-ranked nationally Amherst Wed., March 28. With its win over Williams to start the year, Wesleyan can clinch a Little Three title with a victory. The game will have Livestats and will be webcast starting at 4:30 p.m.