Womens’ hockey opens with two wins at Colby

WATERVILLE, Maine — The Middlebury College women’s hockey team opened its season with a pair of wins at NESCAC rival Colby this past Saturday and Sunday, 2-1 and 4-0.
The Panthers, ranked No. 2 in NCAA Division III, will open at home this weekend vs. league foe Trinity, with games at 7 p.m. on Friday and 3 p.m. on Saturday.
In Saturday’s 2-1 win the Panthers held a 42-22 shots advantage, but Colby goaltender Brianne Wheeler made 40 saves.
The game started oddly when Colby was penalized for a protocol violation after taking the ice late for warm-ups. Middlebury made the Mules pay with a power-play goal at 1:58. Jane Freda tipped in Sara Ugalde’s shot from the point, with Carly Watson also assisting. Freda and Watson earned their first college points on the play.
Wheeler kept the Mules in the game with 12 saves in the opening period and 18 more in the second period.
The Panthers made it 2-0 at 8:00 of the second period when a shot by Anna Van Kula flipped in the air off Wheeler and Katie Mandigo was there to poke the puck home.
Colby scored just 13 seconds later off a face-off from the right of Middlebury goalie Annabelle Jones (21 saves). Maddie Dewhirst’s shot went in front of the goal and Elisa Rascia won a battle to push the puck over the line.
On Saturday, Colby hurt its own cause with four penalties in the first period. The Panthers converted on the third power play when Katie Sullivan scored from the left side when she poked in a loose puck. Mandigo and Hannah Bielawski had assists on the play.
The Panthers scored two goals in the first eight minutes of the second period to take control. Bielawski scored at 4:53 from Sullivan and Jess Brownschidle, while Freda tallied at 7:22 from Allie Aiello and Sullivan.
Middlebury closed out the scoring on a pretty pass play with 8:39 left in the game. Aiello fed Bielawski on the left side of the rink, and Kate Moreau one-timed home Bielawski’s.
Jones earned the shutout with 22 saves, including half of them in the third period. Wheeler made 38 saves for Colby.

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