Women’s Hockey Runs Wins Streak to Six Via Two Wins at Hamilton

Julia Neuburger earned a pair of NESCAC road shutouts with wins at Hamilton, saving all 31 shots she faced.
Julia Neuburger earned a pair of NESCAC road shutouts with wins at Hamilton, saving all 31 shots she faced.

The seventh-ranked Middlebury women’s hockey team swept host Hamilton during a pair of NESCAC road contests at Russell Sage Rink. The Panthers opened the weekend on Friday with a 1-0 win over the Continentals, followed on Saturday with Middlebury earning its sixth-straight win via a 2-0 victory over Hamilton. Sophomore goalie Julia Neuburger (Fayetteville, N.Y.) recorded a combined 31 saves during her two shutouts, running her streak three-straight games without allowing a goal.

The lone goal of Friday’s contest came after a flurry in front of the Continental net. Rookie Shanna Hickman (Wellesley, Mass.) took a pair of shots from close range that Hamilton goaltender Sam Walther stopped. The second rebound wound up on the stick of Jackson in the high slot, and she put in the net for her third goal of the season. Assists on the game-winning play were credited to rookie Rachael St. Clair (Minnetonka, Minn.) and Hickman.

The Panthers held a decided 23-11 advantage in shots for the game. Walther finished with 22 saves, while Neuburger stopped all 11 Continental shots for her second shutout this winter.

Middlebury was 0-2 on the power play, while Hamilton didn't convert on its lone extra-skater opportunity.

In Saturday’s victory, Middlebury took a 1-0 lead 16:03 into the first period when rookie Grace Jennings (Ghent, N.Y.) scored her first collegiate goal. Jennings pinned a Hamilton skater looking to get the puck out of the defensive zone along the boards near the blueline, eventually stealing the puck. She skated in toward Walther, wristing a shot that the Hamilton goalie got a piece of but trickled over the goal line.

Following a scoreless second period, the Panthers gained some breathing room at the 12:26 mark of the third period with a power play goal. A shot from senior Anna Van Kula (Radnor, Pa.) deflected off a stick to junior Kelly Sherman (Washington, D.C.), who scored her fourth of the season and put her team on top, 2-0.

Hamilton had a six-on-four advantage for the final 1:48 after a Panther penalty, but was unable to solve Neuburger. The Middlebury netminder finished with 20 saves.

• Women’s hockey record: 11-3-3
• Up Next: 2/2 at Norwich – 7:00 p.m., 2/5 vs. Wesleyan – 7:00 p.m., 2/6 vs. Wesleyan – 3:00 p.m.