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Panther women’s hockey battling for first place

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. — The Middlebury College women’s hockey team swept two games at NESCAC rival Wesleyan this past weekend to reinsert itself into the race for first place in the league.
The Panthers, 12-5-2 overall, improved to 7-4-1 in NESCAC play, good for a second-place tie with Hamilton behind first-place Connecticut College. Connecticut has three league games left, one at Bowdoin (6-5-2 NESCAC), a team that has already defeated the Camels, and two home games vs. Hamilton.
The Panthers host Colby (0-13-1 NESCAC) this Friday and Saturday and then conclude league play the following weekend with a home-and-home series vs. Williams (7-5-2 NESCAC).
The Panthers, ranked No. 9 in NCAA Division III last week, also were set to visit No. 1 Plattsburgh in a non-league game on Wednesday after the deadline for this issue of the Independent.
On this past Saturday the Panthers tallied three power-play goals in a 4-2 victory at Wesleyan (7-8-4, 4-6-2 NESCAC). 
The Panthers took a 2-1 lead in the first period on goals by Maddie Winslow, on the power play, and Jessica Young. Janka Hlinka’s second-period power-play strike made it 3-1, and Sidney Porter closed out the scoring in the third. Porter’s goal, her first collegiate score, was set up by Winslow and Carly Watson.
Panther goalie Lin Han made 18 saves, and Cardinal goalie Sam Smith made 27. 
On Friday, Middlebury goalie Julia Neuburger stopped 20 shots she faced and Hlinka netted the only goal in the first period as the Panthers won, 1-0.
Hlinka knocked home the rebound of a Lizzie Sheline shot midway through the opening period, and Neuberger made it stand up. Smith made 36 saves for the Cardinals. 

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