Panther women’s hockey blanks Polar Bears twice

MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury College women’s hockey team picked up a pair of shutout wins over visiting NESCAC rival Bowdoin this past weekend to improve to 10-3-1, 6-1-1 in league play. Their Friday win was the 550th of Coach Bill Mandigo’s career. With an overall record now of 551-145-40, Mandigo’s teams have won more games than those of any other NCAA women’s hockey coach.
The Panthers’ NESCAC record puts them in the thick of the race for first place with Hamilton (7-1 in league play) and Connecticut (7-1-2 NESCAC). Middlebury, ranked No. 6 in last week’s NCAA Division III poll, visits Hamilton for games this Friday and Saturday.
On Saturday the Panthers posted their fourth straight shutout, 3-0 over visiting Bowdoin (7-6-1, 1-6-1 NESCAC). The Polar Bears carried play for stretches of the game and outshot the Panthers, 26-19, but goalie Julia Neuberger worked the shutout.
The Panthers’ Maddie Winslow cashed in on a power play just 1:26 into the game. Jessica Young centered pass to Winslow at the top of the crease, and she backhanded a shot into the top-left corner.
Midway through the period the Polar Bears fired five shots on Panther goalie Julia Neuburger during a power play. Neuburger’s best save in that stretch came when she smothered a deflection by Julie Dachille at the right post.
Elizabeth Wulf netted her own rebound at the 3:22 mark of the second period to make it 2-0. Bowdoin made a push midway through the period, and Neuburger made two big stops, pinning a Dachille shot under her left pad and corralling an Izzi Stoddard tip on a centering feed from Julia Surgenor.
In a tight-checking third period the Polar Bears had a chance with less than five minutes left, but Neuberger gloved Brigit Bergin’s shot from the left point. The Panthers got stronger as the period went along and added a late power play goal: Jenna Marotta’s shot from the center of the blue line found the upper right corner past Polar Bear goalie Kerri St. Denis (16 saves).
On Friday the Panthers edged Bowdoin, 1-0. Madie Leidt scored early in the first period and goalie Lin Han made it stand up with 27 saves, three more than Bowdoin’s St. Denis.
Leidt’s goal at 4:07 of the first capped an end-to-end play. Han stopped the puck behind her net for Marotta, who pushed the puck up to Leidt. The Panther skated through a pair of Polar Bear defenders before picking the top-right corner from the left circle.
Later in the period St. Denis twice denied Janka Hlinka from point-blank range. Han’s best save of the period came when Brooke Soloman redirected a shot from in tight.
In the final minute of the second period, Han twice denied the Polar Bears on a power play, including blocking Meg Sheehan’s a shot from the right point through traffic. Midway through the third period Han sticked aside a Katie Leininger tip in front.

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