#1 Continentals Defeat Defending National Champion Middlebury, 3-2
January 17, 1996
Middlebury opened the scoring two minutes into the game on a power-play goal by Mark Spence. Hamilton answered at the 7:40 mark of the first as Zac Sweetland tipped in a Coakley shot from the point. Both goaltenders made several outstanding saves in the first, with Panther netminder Chris Farion stopping two Continental breakaways.
Hamilton dominated play in the second, holding Middlebury shotless for the first 14:02 of the second period. Joe Baudo put the Continentals ahead, 2-1, with a power play tally at 8:29 of the second. Baudo faked the shot, skated past a Panther defensman, then beat Farion high to the stick side.
Hamilton went ahead 3-1 when Coakley tipped in a rebound off a Rob Rigg shot on a two on one break 0:25 into the third. Two minutes later Hamilton goaltender Brent Davey stoned Panther Francois Gravel on a breakaway. Gravel deked twice and flipped a low backhander that appeared to be in, but Davey shot out his pad at the last second. John Giannacopolous brought the Panthers within one with a rebound goal with only 4:19 remaining, but Davey came up big with several outstanding saves in the final minutes, including the spectacular save on the Anastasio shot with only 0:06 remaining. An apparent empty net goal by Michael Phalen with 0:39 left sent the crowd of 1,397 into a frenzy, but the goal was disallowed because off an offsides call.