The Middlebury women’s hockey team recorded a 1-0-2 record in three overtime games last week. Taking to the road Tuesday, the Panthers received a goal from rookie Jessica Young (Mission Hills, Kan.) 1:54 into overtime to earn a 2-1 win against Utica. Returning home for two games against ninth-ranked Amherst, Middlebury scored late in each game and earned 2-2 and 1-1 ties on Friday and Saturday, respectively. The weekend's games between the conference foes served as a Faceoff Against Breast Cancer event.
On Tuesday, the first 20 minutes did not contain much action, as each team played tough defensively. The Panthers turned up the pressure in the second stanza, outshooting UC 13-3 over the course of the period. Middlebury was able to get one past Utica net minder Marissa McNamara just 2:29 into the period when junior Katie Mandigo (Cornwall, Vt.) redirected a centering feed from senior Katie Sullivan (Bethesda, Md.) for her fifth of the year. Despite sustained pressure by the Panther offense, McNamara stood strong, sending the Pioneers into the locker room trailing 1-0.
Utica evened the score 11:36 into the third when Louise Steele-Norton deflected a point shot for her sixth goal of the season. Middlebury junior goalie Marisa Dreher (Aspen, Colo.) came up big with 5:45 left on the clock as Utica's Gabrielle Schnepp came in on a breakaway, but Dreher turned the shot aside to keep the game tied at 1-1.
Each team had chances in the overtime, but it was the Panthers who were able to sneak in the winner. Young was able to get her stick on a bouncing puck and push in past McNamara for her fifth of the year, assisted by rookie Janka Hlinka (Stratford, Conn.).
Dreher made 14 saves in goal to earn her first career win. McNamara finished with 24 stops for the Pioneers as Middlebury held a 26-15 shots advantage in the contest.
Trailing 2-1 late in Friday’s third period, Middlebury utilized a goal from rookie Maddie Winslow (Manchester, Vt.) with 6:11 remaining and earned a 2-2 tie with Amherst.
In the first period, scoring chances were hard to come by for each team. At the 10:17 mark, Middlebury sophomore Carly Watson (Montpelier, Vt.) put the hosts on the board first when she laced a shot from the left point that deflected off a Jeff defender. Watson was setup on a pass from Winslow along the side boards after Mandigo dug the puck out of an Amherst player's skate near the goal line. The score remained a 1-0 lead in favor of the Panthers into the break.
Out of the intermission, Amherst turned up its offensive pressure throwing pucks at the net in the second. Looking for the tying goal, Emily Flom knotted the game 1-1 at 4:26 when she sent a hard shot from the left point that hit the right post and caromed in. Erin Martin was credited with the assist for the Jeffs after she won a faceoff following a stoppage of play.
The game stayed tied at 1-1 until the midway point of the final period. On the power play, Amherst's Lynndy Smith put the visitors ahead scoring through a crowd in front of the crease following stick-to-stick passes from near the goal line by Tori Salmon and Martin. Looking for the equalizer, Winslow tipped in a shot by senior Hannah Bielawski (Evanston, Ill.) following a pass through traffic from Mandigo for a 2-2 score.
Amherst nearly took the lead with under two minutes left in the third when Salmon laced a shot that was saved by Middlebury senior goalie Annabelle Jones (Homer, N.Y.) as frantic action continued at both ends of the ice.
In the overtime period, neither team had many scoring opportunities as just four total shots were fired on net.
For the contest, Middlebury held a narrow 31-28 advantage in shots. Jones tallied 26 saves in front of the net, while Amherst goalie Yuna Evans was credited with 29 stops.
In Saturday’s tie and a little over halfway through the opening period on the power play, Martin got the Jeffs on the board at 10:21 when she put home a rebound just outside the left crease. Martin scored following an initial shot from Alex Toupal on a pass from the right wing by Salmon.
With less than three minutes remaining in the period, Winslow looked to tie the game for Middlebury but was denied on the doorstep and in the process drew a penalty. However, Middlebury couldn't capitalize on the extra skater. In the final 20 seconds, a point-blank shot by Martin was turned away by Middlebury senior goalie Madeline Marsh (Kanata, Ont.), keeping the Panther deficit at one.
The Panthers threatened 4:30 into the second period with a mad flurry in front. Shots by senior Emily Fluke (Bourne, Mass.) and junior Julia Wardwell (Marlborough, Mass.) were turned away by Amherst goalie Sabrina Dobbins as the Panthers induced a Jeff penalty. However, the hosts were again unable to capitalize and Amherst maintained its narrow one-goal advantage.
Nearing the end of a power play with under eight minutes left in the period, Salmon looked to put Amherst up by two. She skated in behind the Panther defense and laced a shot that Marsh made a glove save sprawling to her right.
Following an Amherst penalty with 11:30 left, a shot by Watson was laced from the left point that hit the pipe and bounced away.
With a little more than seven minutes left, a shot by Amherst's Emma Greise from the left hit the crossbar, went straight down, but never crossed the goal line and the score remained 1-0. In the final minutes, the action picked up on both ends with big saves from each goalie.
Middlebury eventually broke through and scored the equalizer with 95 seconds left in the final period. Following a puck that was loose in front, Young top-shelved it into the upper-left corner. Bielawski brought the puck into the offensive zone from the left side and worked it back around behind the goal. Fluke received a pass from Bielawski and sent the pass toward the crease setting up Young's goal.
During the overtime, both teams had good scoring chances but the respective goalies were up for the challenge. On the power play, Amherst had its best scoring chance when Lynndy Smith and Toupal both blasted shots from the point, but Marsh gloved each shot. Middlebury had its opportunities in the final minute, but Dobbins paddled away one, and made a pad save on another to earn the key conference point.
For the contest, Middlebury held a 28-22 advantage in shots. Marsh tallied 27 saves in front of the net, while Dobbins was credited with 21 stops.
• Women’s hockey record: 8-2-3
• Up next: 1/23 @ Bowdoin – 7:00, 1/24 @ Bowdoin – 3:00