Top-ranked Norwich scored the tying goal with 1:17 left in the third period, as Middlebury and the Cadets skated to a 2-2 overtime tie Tuesday in Northfield, Vermont. The fourth-ranked Panthers (14-4-2) return to NESCAC play this weekend, traveling to Maine for a two-game series at Colby starting on Friday.
The Panthers got off to a strong start, taking a 1-0 lead 5:09 into the contest. Jenna Marotta wristed a shot from the point that eluded traffic and got behind Cadet goalie Laurie King. Just over a minute later, Middlebury goalie Lin Han made a quality glove save on a slap shot from the left point by Maddi Blauth.
Norwich (19-1-3) had another opportunity to even the score later in the period while shorthanded, but a stellar backcheck by Madie Leidt broke up a 2-on-1 without yielding a shot. Jessica Young capped the period for the visitors with an end-to-end rush that resulted in her team-leading 13th tally of the season with 44 seconds showing on the clock.
In the second stanza, the Panthers nearly made it a three-goal difference with less than three minutes expired when Katherine Jackson's shorthanded bid was fought off by King. The Cadets were awarded five power plays during the frame and took advantage of one with 3:13 on the clock, as Bryn Labbe flipped in a rebound after her first shot hit the post.
Jackson almost got the goal back for Middlebury just over seven minutes into the final period when her shot from the slot rang off the post. Han kept it a one-goal game just over a minute later, smothering a redirection on the doorstep by Sophie McGovern. The Cadets got the equalizer to force overtime when Sarah Schwenzfeier buried a rebound from the slot, after Han denied Blauth's shot from the point with 1:17 left in regulation.
In the five-minute extra session, both teams had chances with Middlebury's Elizabeth Wulf nearly pulling off some last-second heroics. Wulf broke in on goal from the right side, but her rising shot was corralled by King with 11.2 seconds as the game finished in a 2-2 deadlock.
Han collected 27 saves for the Panthers, while King had 21 stops for the hosts. Norwich held a 29-23 edge in shots and went 1-6 on the power play, while Middlebury came up empty on three opportunities.
The Panthers, one of the top defensive teams in the country, limited the top-scoring offense in Division III to two goals, as the Cadets entered the game averaging 5.59 goals per game.