#6 Middlebury Shuts Out #8 Connecticut College

Middlebury goalie Lin Han tracks the puck as defender Anna Zumwinkle clears the top of the crease. (Will Costello).
Middlebury goalie Lin Han tracks the puck as defender Anna Zumwinkle clears the top of the crease. (Will Costello).

Sixth-ranked Middlebury handed eighth-ranked Connecticut College (3-1-0, 2-1-0) its first loss of the season, as the Panthers (3-2-0, 3-0-0) posted a 3-0 shutout Friday in Kenyon Arena. The teams complete the two-game NESCAC series Saturday at 3:00 p.m.

In a scoreless opening 20 minutes, both had their chances. Middlebury's Elizabeth Wulf set up Katherine Jackson on a two-on-one early in the period with Camel goalie Bailey Mertz using her left pad to deny Jackson's backhanded bid. Mertz later robbed Madie Leidt from point-blank range in the slot after Jessica Young carried the puck into the zone along the left wing and centered a pass. Connecticut College was awarded three power plays during the period, but the Panthers erased all three opportunities.

In the second stanza, the hosts got onto the scoreboard cashing in on a five-on-three power play. Young touched the puck over to the left post where Maddie Winslow made it a 1-0 game with an even 13 minutes on the clock. It was the first goal allowed this season by the Camels in the second period. The best chance for Connecticut College came with just over eight minutes remaining when the puck bounced out into the slot from behind the Panther net, but Katlyn Paiva's shot at an open net was blocked by Winslow.

Kyla Floresca nearly tied the game on the first shift of the third period for the Camels on a scramble in front of the Panther net, but Middlebury's Lin Han steered the puck wide. The hosts doubled their lead with 6:25 expired, when Jackson one-timed a pass from Winslow for her team-leading fifth goal of the season. Young made it a 3-0 score, picking up her own rebound, before circling the net and sliding in a shot with 7:47 remaining. Connecticut College came within inches of spoiling the shutout on a power play via a shot by Lauren Helm, but Han sprawled to her right to make the save securing the 3-0 final.

Han made 22 saves for her second shutout of the season, while Mertz finished with 15 saves as the visitors held a 22-18 edge in shots. Middlebury went 1-9 on the power play, while the Camels were empty in seven attempts. The Camels entered the game as the nation's top defense, allowing 0.67 goals per game and had yielded a total of two scores against in their first three contests.