Women’s hockey to host after marathon

MIDDLEBURY — The top-seeded Middlebury College women’s hockey team reached the NESCAC final four and gave Coach Bill Mandigo his 500th career win, the most of any college women’s hockey program head, in epic fashion on Saturday, defeating No. 8 Hamilton in quadruple overtime, 3-2.
At 126 minutes and 35 seconds, it was the longest NESCAC women’s hockey tournament game ever played. Emily Fluke scored the game-winner 6:35 into the fourth overtime with the Panthers on a power play, tipping in defender Carly Watson’s shot from the left point, with defender Hannah Bielawski picking up the second assist.
The 19-3-3 Panthers will host No. 5 Bowdoin on Saturday at 1 p.m., followed by No. 2 Amherst and No. 3 Trinity scheduled to face off at 4 p.m., assuming no more overtimes in Middlebury’s semifinal. Saturday’s winners will play on Sunday at 2 p.m. with the NESCAC playoff title and an automatic NCAA Division III berth at stake.
On this past Saturday against the 10-11-4 Continentals, the Panthers’ Jessica Young scored twice in the first 4:14 of the game, once on a power play with an assist from Watson, to give her team a 2-0 lead.
Two of Middlebury’s first three shots got past Hamilton goalie Sam Walther, but she stopped the next 79 she saw. Walther finished with a tournament record 80 stops, including on a Katie Sullivan’s third-period breakaway, as the Panthers outshot the Continentals, 83-33. Panther goalie Madeleine Marsh made 33 saves, but was beaten once in the second period and once in the third period as Hamilton forced overtime.
Middlebury has now played in the three longest games in NESCAC tournament history. Saturday’s game broke the mark of 123:49 mark set in a 2-1 loss against Trinity in a 2010 semifinal. The third-longest game took 101:54, a 2-1 loss to Amherst in the 2007 final.

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