Panther women's hockey nails down first place
MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury College women’s hockey team defeated NESCAC foe Williams twice this past weekend to clinch first place in the league, earn the top seed for the upcoming NESCAC tournament, and push its unbeaten streak to 15-0-3.
The 18-2-3 Panthers finished 13-1-2 in NESCAC play, are ranked No. 3 in NCAA Division III, and have one game left in their regular season — a visit from No. 2 Plattsburgh this Saturday at 3 p.m.
The Panthers will host a NESCAC quarterfinal vs. the No. 8 seed — to be determined by other games played this Friday and Saturday — the following weekend.
On this past Saturday, the Panthers nailed down the top seed by blanking the visiting Ephs, 4-0, while second-pace Amherst lost at Trinity, 5-2. Williams fell to 8-11-3, 5-7-2 in league play.
The Panthers outshot the Ephs, 11-2, in a scoreless first period, and got on the board at 11:56 of the second on a Maddie Winslow wrister from the left dot assisted by Carly Watson.
Emily Fluke made it 2-0 at 1:38 of the third when she tapped in a rebound after Jessica Young redirected an attempt from the point. Young wristed a shot home to make it 3-0 at 4:07 after Fluke cleanly won a faceoff it back to her, and Fluke added an empty-net, shorthanded goal.
Middlebury goalie Madeleine Marsh tallied 20 saves for her third shutout of the season. Eph goalie Christina Cleroux was credited with 24 stops for the Ephs.
On Friday, the Panthers won at Williams, 2-1, when Winslow netted the tie-breaking goal midway through the third period.
Middlebury took a 1-0 lead 3:20 into the game, when Young batted in a Fluke rebound out of the air.
That lead held until 7:31 into the third, when Eph Eliza Noyes equalized. Winslow’s game-winner came on a rebound with the Panthers skating on a five-on-three power play.
Middlebury goalie Annabelle Jones made 19 saves, while Cleroux stopped 26 shots for the Ephs.