Panther women’s hockey picks up two non-league victories at home

MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury College women’s hockey team picked up a pair of non-league wins at home this past weekend to improve to 7-3-3. The Panthers, ranked No. 7 in NCAA Division III, return to action at Kenyon Arena this weekend, when they host NESCAC rival Bowdoin on Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 3 p.m.
On Friday, the Panthers edged Utica, 2-1, as Rachael St. Clair and Katarina Shuchuk each scored their first career goals and goalie Kiana Verplancke made 25 saves for her first collegiate win. The Panthers outshot Utica (9-5-1) by 33-26.
Utica took the lead at 10:10 of the opening period on a power play. The Pioneers won the faceoff in the Middlebury zone and Kayla Dion sent a shot from the point, and Elizabeth Dohner lifted the rebound into the top corner.
The Panthers pulled even at 18:15, when St. Clair collected a rebound of a Katherine Jackson shot and swept it around Utica goalie Amanda Lupo (31 saves).
Middlebury scored what turned out to be the game-winning goal at 17:08 of the second period. Micaela Thibault forced a turnover on the right boards, and sent the puck to the point. Jenna Marotta shot on goal, and Shuchuk tipped it home.
The Panthers ran into penalty trouble late in the period when the Pioneers were awarded a power play with 1:12 left and that moved to a 5-on-3 for the final 32.8 seconds when another penalty was called. But Middlebury killed both penalties, allowing only one shot.
Verplancke made her best save of the third period at 6:30, when she stuck out her left pad to stop Morgan Reed from close range.
On Saturday, the Panthers outshot visiting Endicott, 53-12, in a 5-0 win. Goalie Marisa Dreher worked the 12-save shutout, while the Gulls’ Vendela Jonsson stopped 48 shots.
Maddie Winslow stuffed home a loose puck to make it 1-0 in the first, and then Middlebury broke through for three goals in the middle period. Katherine Jackson made it 2-0 at 8:16, assisted by St. Clair for her first collegiate goal. The Panthers made it 3-0 1:28 later, when Haley LaFontaine scored her first collegiate goal after Shanna Hickman won a faceoff in the Endicott zone. Jackson scored again at 14:33, finishing off a two-on-one with Winslow.
Jessica Young beat two defenders and scored from close range 5:00 into the third period to make it 5-0. 

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