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Women’s hockey falls; to host quarterfinal

MIDDLEBURY — A pair of tough weekend losses cost the Middlebury College women’s hockey team the top seed in the NESCAC tournament, and the Panthers also dropped a non-league contest on Tuesday to a top NCAA Division III rival.
Middlebury (14-7-3, 9-5-2 NESCAC) is the second seed for the NESCAC tournament and will host No. 7 Connecticut (10-10-3, 6-7-3) in a Saturday quarterfinal at 3 p.m. The Panthers played the Camels twice at Kenyon back in December, notching a 3-0 win and a 1-1 tie.
Unless Williams (17-4-3, 10-4-2), which defeated the Panthers twice this past weekend to earn the top seed, is upset in its quarterfinal, the Panthers will head to Williams for the league final four if they get past Connecticut.
On this past Friday the Panthers outshot Williams, 28-15, in a 2-1 loss. Eph Bri Laycock scored midway through the third period to snap a 1-1 tie. 
The Ephs took the lead with 4:31 left in the second period, on a Meghan Halloran’s shot from the right circle through traffic. At 19:39 Jenna Letterie equalized by sweeping in a Madie Leidt centering pass. Laycock scored the game-winner on a power play at 9:22 of the third.
Panther goalie Lin Han made 13 saves, and Eph goalie Chloe Heiting made 27 stops. Middlebury failed to score on five power plays.
On Saturday the Ephs also won by 2-1, this time when Avery Dunn scored 1:54 into overtime. Ephs Elizabeth Welch opened the scoring at 17:50 of the first period. Panther Sidney Portner scored with an assist from Ellie Barney with 6:30 remaining in the third. Dunn scored the game-winner from the slot.
Middlebury outshot the Ephs, 28-24, and failed to convert four power plays. Han made 22 saves, while Heiting made 27 stops.
On Tuesday host Plattsburgh topped the Panthers, 3-1, marking the fourth straight game Middlebury scored one or zero goals. Kaitlin Drew-Mead gave Plattsburgh the lead on a second-period breakaway, and Abby Brush made it 2-0 on a third-period breakaway. Anna Zumwinkle’s goal, from Katie Hargrave at 15:13, made it 2-1 before the Cardinals added an empty-netter. Panther goalie Anna Goldstein made 42 saves, and Cardinal goalie Kassi Abbott made 20.

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