Women’s hockey to host playoffs after e victory and a tie
MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury College women’s hockey team concluded its regular season and nailed down the top seed for the NESCAC tournament with a win and a tie vs. visiting league foe Williams (10-7-7, 4-6-6) this past weekend.
The Panthers, ranked No. 4 in NCAA Division III with a 17-4-3 record that includes a 13-1-2 NESCAC record, will host No. 8 Wesleyan (6-14-4, 2-10-4 NESCAC) on Saturday at 1 p.m.
The next three top seeds are Connecticut (14-5-5, 9-3-4), Amherst, (14-6-4, 9-4-3) and Hamilton (13-7-4, 9-4-3). No. 2 Connecticut is the only NESCAC team that has defeated Middlebury this season, 4-3 in Kenyon Arena in overtime early this season. If the Panthers hold serve this Saturday they will host the highest remaining seeds from the other three quarterfinals on March 3 and 4. The NESCAC winner automatically qualifies for the NCAA tournament.
On this past weekend the Panthers defeated Williams on Saturday, 4-2, as freshman Madie Leidt recorded a hat trick; she has 13 goals this winter. Her first-period goal, set up by Katharine Jackson, made it 1-0.
Eph Gabby Montembeault netted a loose puck 17 seconds into the second period to tie the game, but Jessica Young restored the Panther lead on a power play 1:18 later by redirecting a Leidt shot from the left point. That was Young’s team-leading 15th goal of the year.
In the third period, the Ephs had a great chance to tie the game, but Panther goaltender Julia Neuburger (13 saves) denied Montembeault’s breakaway attempt.
The Panthers went up 4-1 with two Leidt power-play goals 30 seconds apart. At 7:27 Leidt one-timed a pass from Young at the left point for a five-on-three goal. At 7:57 Leidt wristed a shot home.
Williams added a late goal on the power play with goaltender Marissa Anderson (34 saves) pulled.
On Friday at Williams the Ephs took a 2-0 first-period lead, but the Panthers rallied for a 3-3 tie. Ephs Amanda Reisman and Anna Fucillo scored late in the period on their team’s first two shots of the game.
Madie Leidt made it 2-1 by one-timing a cross-ice pass from Jessica Young with 1:31 left in the period and 12 seconds gone on a power play.
Panther Sidney Portner evened the score at 5:43 of the second. After Elizabeth Wulf broke up an Eph breakout Portner fired a shot from the top of the circles past Eph goalie Christina Cleroux (39 saves). Williams reclaimed the lead at 3-2 with their second power-play tally, a Brynn Puppe one-timer.
Middlebury’s Maddie Winslow made it 3-3 at 7:06 mark of third period by tipping home an Alexis Ryan shot from the right point. It was her ninth goal of the season.
The Panthers took all seven shots in the five-minute overtime, and Cleroux denied both Wulf and Leidt late in the extra session. Lin Han made 14 saves for Middlebury.
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