LEWISTON, Maine -- Middlebury College scored six straight goals, erasing a 5-4 deficit and assuming a 10-5 edge by early in the fourth quarter, and staved off the Bates College men's lacrosse team for a 10-8 NESCAC victory in the conference opener for both teams.
Jon Broome scored four goals for Middlebury (1-0), while Stew Kerr added two goals and an assist. Nate Gaudio turned away 17 shots for the Panthers, as Bates outshot Middlebury by a 47-29 margin, including a 25-22 advantage in shots on goal.
Junior Will Gilkeson (Cleveland Heights, Ohio) scored twice and assisted on one other goal for the Bobcats (0-2), and senior Rob Highland (Yarmouth, Maine) added two goals as well. Sophomore Dan Bell (Simsbury, Conn.) made 12 saves in his collegiate debut.
Middlebury cleared successfully 24 times in 26 attempts, and also went the whole game without committing a penalty.
Broome got Middlebury on the scoreboard first, on an assist by Andrew Metros less than three minutes in. Bates evened the game on an unassisted tally by Gilkeson three minutes later, and the score stayed at 1-1 for the game's next 10 minutes.
Bates took its first lead with 13:59 to go in the second quarter, as senior Dan Hines (Manchester, Mass.) connected from a sheer angle on a feed by Nick Ford. Middlebury tied it up on Harrison Goodkind's unassisted goal at 11:11, but Bates sophomore Mac Jackson (Hood River, Ore.) won the ensuing faceoff, scooping the ground ball and shooting seconds later to put Bates on top 3-2. Highland's fourth goal of the season, with 8:44 to go in the half, gave Bates its biggest lead of the game at 4-2.
The Panthers held the Bobcats without a score over the final eight minutes of the quarter while going about evening the score with goals by Joel Blockowicz and Broome, for a 4-4 halftime score.
Highland ripped an unassisted goal 64 seconds into the third quarter, following a Middlebury turnover, for a 5-4 Bates lead. Bates won the ensuing faceoff, but committed two turnovers, the second one leading to the game-tying goal by Metros with 12:28 to go in the quarter.
The score stayed tied until the 6:00 mark approached. Billy Chapman picked up the ground ball after a Bates turnover, leading to a Middlebury fast break, with Mike Giordano feeding Broome for the hat trick and a 6-5 Middlebury lead.
The lead increased to 7-5 after Highland's shot was stopped by Gaudio, and the Panthers' clear led to a goal by Chapman, on another Giordano assist with 4:11 left in the third. Middlebury's momentum only grew from there, as Blockowicz collected the ground ball off the ensuing faceoff and quickly fed Broome for an 8-5 lead with 3:57 to go.
Kerr then entered the scoring column with 1:35 to go in the third, taking a feed from Metros and burying it past Bell to make it 9-5. Kerr then made it 10-5 with 10:37 to go in the fourth quarter.
Bates got its first goal in over 18 minutes, with 10:18 left in regulation, as sophomore Steven Hild (West Hartford, Conn.) fed Gilkeson for his second tally. Jackson (9-17 faceoffs, seven ground balls) won his second straight faceoff and the Bobcats made the game interesting again as first-year Jack Allard (Ridgewood, N.J.) closed the gap to 10-7 with 8:51 left to play with his third goal this season.
Middlebury held Bates to just one shot over the next five-plus minutes, however, before senior Kyle Starr's (Concord, N.H.) goal on a Hines feed closed the gap to 10-8, with 3:03 left in the game.
With the momentum seemingly shifting to Bates' side, Jackson won another faceoff, and the Bobcats peppered the Middlebury goal with six shots over the next two minutes, the final two of which, by Starr and sophomore Nick Ford (Columbus, Ohio), were both saved by Gaudio. Middlebury possessed the ball and kept it away from the Bobcats over the game's final minute to preserve the win.