Panther women’s hockey opens with wins

MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury College women’s hockey team, ranked No. 5 in NCAA Division III in the early going, opened its season this past weekend by sweeping a pair of games from NESCAC foe Trinity, 5-1 and 2-1.
The Panthers are back in action this weekend, when they and Plattsburgh State host the Panther-Cardinal Classic at Chip Kenyon Arena, in which Western and Eastern D-III powers will face off. Middlebury will take on Elmira on Friday at 4 p.m., and host Wisconsin-Stevens Point on Sunday at 4 p.m.
In the other games, on Saturday Wisconsin-Stevens Point and Plattsburgh meet at 2 p.m. and Plattsburgh and Gustavus Adolphus square off at 5 p.m., and on Sunday at 1 p.m. Gustavus Adolphus will face Plattsburgh.
On this past Saturday, Anna Van Kula scored with 47 seconds to go to snap a 1-1 tie and give Middlebury the weekend sweep of the Bantams.
As it did on Friday, Trinity scored first in the game, taking a 1-0 lead 12:57 into the contest. Shelby Lane poked home the rebound of a Melissa Maffeo shot.
With 1:18 gone of the second period the Panthers knotted the score. Maddie Winslow intercepted a clearing pass and scored with a wrister to the top left corner of the net.
Late in the third period, Middlebury pressed, but the game appeared to be heading into overtime until Elizabeth Wulf broke free from a pack behind the net and fed Van Kula in front for the game-winning tally.
Trinity finished with a 21-19 shots advantage. Panther goalie Julia Neuburger made 20 saves to pick up her first career win, while Sydney Belinskas made 17 stops for the Bantams.
On Friday, Middlebury scored three power-play goals on its 5-1 win over Trinity in the season-opener for both teams.
Trinity took a 1-0 lead 3:43 into the game on a power-play goal of its own, an Emma Tani shot from the right point.
Middlebury tied the game with a power-play goal at 8:16 of the period. Kate Mandigo netted the rebound of Carly Watson’s shot from the left point. The Panthers took the lead, again with an extra attacker, at 11:22, when Elizabeth Wulf redirected a shot from Kelly Sherman.
The Panthers made it 3-1 when Mandigo finished another Watson rebound. Kelly Sherman made it a 4-1 game later in the second period when she scored on a breakaway.
Middlebury put the game out of reach 5:00 into the third period with its third power-play goal. Julia Wardwell took advantage of a failed clearing attempt, wristing a shot home from the right side. 
Middlebury finished with a 30-19 shots advantage. Marisa Dreher picked up the win in goal with 18 saves, while Belinskas finished with 25 stops for the Bantams.

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