Panther hockey, hoop teams prevail

MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury College women’s hockey kept up its winning ways to remain undefeated in recent action, while both Panther basketball teams picked up key league victories, and the men’s hockey squad came up empty in two outings.


The women’s hockey team moved to 16-0, stayed atop the NESCAC standings, and kept its No. 1 ranking in NCAA Division III with a weekend home sweep of league rival Hamilton, followed by a non-league victory over rival Norwich.

On Jan. 28 the Panthers edged visiting Hamilton, 2-1, as Katie Hargrave scored twice in the second period to erase a 1-0 deficit.

Christina Spanier scored for Hamilton at 10:48 of the opening period on the Continentals’ first shot of the game. Hargraves equalized for Panthers at 15:52 of the second. Madie Leidt set up the transition score with a drop pass.

Hargrave’s game winner came with 1:52 left in the period. A Hamilton defender blocked Hargrave’s initial shot from the slot, but Hargrave lifted the rebound into the net.

Panther goalie Caroline Silk made 13 saves, while a busier Sidney Molnar made 45 saves for Hamilton.

On Saturday the Panthers’ advantage in shots paid off in a more one-sided win, 5-1 over Hamilton, which dropped to 8-6, 5-5 NESCAC.

The Continentals got on the board first with Maura Holden’s rebound goal on an early second-period power play.

Middlebury’s Ashley McDonald cashed in on a give-and-go with Maddie Bayard to tie the score 23 seconds later, and Cece Ziegler made it 2-1 just 1:05 after that with a shot from the top of the right circle.

The Panthers put the game away with three third-period goals: Ellie Barney, on a drop pass from McDonald in the high slot; Leidt, on a power play; and Kylie Quinn, by redirecting a Sabrina Kim shot. Sophie Merageas made 17 saves for the Panthers, while Molnar made 41 for Hamilton.

On Tuesday, the Panthers scored twice in the third period to defeat visiting Norwich, 2-0. The No. 8 Cadets dropped go 15-5. Middlebury will play a pair of games at league foe Trinity this weekend.

Defender Alexis Ryan broke the ice for the Panthers midway through the final period, when she wristed a shot from the high slot that made its way home through traffic high. Hargrave made it 2-0 shortly afterward by netting the rebound of an Eva Hendrikson shot.

Merageas made 20 saves for the shutout, while Cadet goalie Alexa Berg stopped 44 shots as the Panthers again racked up a big advantage in shots on goal.


The men’s basketball team improved to 16-3, 6-1 in NESCAC play, with its two home league wins over the weekend. The Panthers will host league foe Wesleyan on Saturday at 4 p.m.

On Friday the Panthers outlasted Trinity in triple overtime, 82-77. Trinity dropped to 10-5, 1-2 NESCAC.

The game was close throughout. The Panthers led at the half, 24-23. Trinity took its biggest lead at 47-40 with 6:09 left in the second half, but the Panthers tied the game at 49-49 on an Alex Sobel dunk at 4:15. Four straight Sam Stevens points gave Middlebury a 57-53 lead with 20 seconds left, but Trinity scored four points down the stretch to force the first OT.

The Bantams’ D.J. Smith hit a free throw at 0:14 to tie the score at 66-66 and force the second OT. Trinity took a 73-70 lead at 1:37 of the second OT, but one free throw by David Brennan and two by Stevens sent the game to the third OT.

The Panthers opened the final OT with four straight points, and at 0:44 Stevens hit two free throws to make it 79-74, enough of a lead to secure the win.

Noah Osher scored 26 points for the Panthers, while Stevens contributed 25 points and 12 rebounds. Sobel recorded 11 points, 11 boards and a career-high seven blocks. Brennan added 11 boards and nine points.

Will Dorion paced Trinity with 20 points, while Donald Jorden Jr. had 19 points and 11 rebounds.

On Saturday the Panthers wore down visiting Connecticut, 85-71, breaking open a tight game in the second half with a 12-0 run. The Camels dropped to 8-7, 2-3.

Middlebury closed the first half on a 10-0 run to lead, 32-29. The Camels rallied to lead, 45-43, before the Panthers took control with the 12-0 run. Osher sandwiched three-pointers around three-point plays from Stevens and Sobel for a 55-45 lead at 12:24. Connecticut came no closer than six points the rest of the way.

Osher led all scorers with 28 points by going six for 10 from beyond the arc. Stevens scored 20 points and grabbed 10 rebounds; Sobel contributed his 14th double-double of the season with 17 points, 10 rebounds, and five blocked shots; and Jaden Bobbett dished out six assists.

For the Camels David Murray finished with 22 points and 10 boards


In a game moved from Saturday to Sunday by snow in Connecticut, the women’s basketball team improved to 10-7, 4-1 NESCAC, by edging host Connecticut College, 51-47. The Camels dropped to 3-14, 1-4.

The first half ended at 26-26 when the Panthers scored the final seven points. After three periods Camels took a 36-34 lead. Connecticut pushed it to five in the fourth, but back-to-back treys from Reagan McDonald eventually but the Panthers up, 42-39.

The Camels took a 45-44 lead with under two minutes to go, when Panther Alexa Mustafaj sank two free throws to make it 46-45. At 0:22, Mustafaj nailed a decisive three-pointer that made it 49-45.

Mustafaj led all players with 15 points, while Gianna Palli grabbed a game-high 14 boards and blocked two shots. McDonald (10 points) and Bethany Lucey (six) also helped the attack.

Rebecca Oberman-Levine paced the Camels with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

The Panthers were set to visit Trinity on Wednesday and will host Tufts and Bates this Friday and Saturday.


The Panther men’s hockey team fell to 2-10-2, 1-9-1 in NESCAC play, with two losses over the weekend. The Panthers will visit Wesleyan and Trinity this weekend.

On Friday host Tufts blanked the Panthers, 4-0. Middlebury outshot the 3-10-1 Jumbos, 33-30, but could not get a puck past Tufts goalie Josh Sarlo, who made 33 saves. Panther goalie Jake Horoho made 26 saves. Four Jumbos scored in the course of the game.

On Sunday visiting Connecticut got a Paul Capozzi goal late in overtime to defeat the Panthers, 3-2, and improve to 4-8-1, 3-6.

Middlebury took a 1-0 lead on an EMack Bentley goal set up by a Tyler Capello faceoff win. The Camels’ Lukas Uhler tied the score on a five-on-three power play late in the period, and Connecticut took the lead 23 seconds into the second period on an Anthony Quatieri strike.

The Panthers tied the game 3:54 into the third period, when Jin Lee one-timed home a Cole Joslin rebound.

Middlebury had a great chance to take the lead with 1:51 remaining in regulation, but Camel goalie Michael McHale saved Chris Garbe’s shorthanded breakaway bid.

Garbe also hit the post from the slot in overtime. Capozzi’s game-winner came when he skated out of the left corner through the slot and tucked the puck inside the far post.

Adam Wisco (six saves) and Horoho (13) split time in the Panther goal. McHale made 27 saves for the Camels.

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