Women’s Hockey Begins 2016-17 With Pair of Road Overtime Wins at Trinity

Kelly Sherman scored Sunday's game winner in overtime.
Kelly Sherman scored Sunday's game winner in overtime.

The fifth-ranked Middlebury women’s hockey team recorded a pair of NESCAC road overtime victories last weekend at Trinity. On Friday in the season opener, junior Jessica Young (Mission Hills, Kan.) scored 2:28 into overtime as the Panthers rallied for a 2-1 triumph. The two teams returned to the ice Saturday, as senior Kelly Sherman (Washington, D.C.) scored on the power play with 1.1 seconds remaining to propel the Panthers to an identical 2-1 victory.

In Friday’s win, the hosts jumped out to the early lead when Hannah Oganeku tucked in a rebound behind Panther junior goalie Julia Neuburger (Fayetteville, N.Y.). Melissa Maffeo had two shots from point-blank range that Neuburger stopped, but Oganeku buried the third attempt 7:09 into the contest.

The Panthers had a chance to tie the game two minutes later when Sherman went in on the Bantam goal on a partial breakaway. With a defender hounding her approach, Sherman’s shot slid just wide of the left post.

In the second period, Middlebury evened the score (1-1) 12:17 into the stanza. Rookie Sidney Portner (Andover, Minn.) sent a pass from the right boards in the neutral zone to junior Janka Hlinka (Stratford, Conn.), who ripped a shot from the high slot off goalie Jess Thulin to knot the score.

Young almost gave the Panthers the lead late in the period with a shorthanded chance, but Thulin smothered her shot from the slot.

Middlebury carried the play in the third period, recording a 19-5 advantage in shots, but neither team was able to get on the scoreboard, sending the game to overtime.

The Panthers put plenty of pressure on the Bantam net in the extra session with Young getting two good chances in the opening minutes, including one that went off the post. Middlebury used that sustained pressure to set up the winning goal when junior Maddie Winslow (Manchester, Vt.) sent a pass from the corner to senior Victoria Laven (Fargo, N.D.) at the left point, who directed a shot on goal. Young deflected Laven’s shot as she was cutting through the slot for her initial tally of the season.

Neuburger registered 24 saves to earn the win for the Panthers, while Thulin finished with 38. Middlebury held a 40-25 advantage in shots for the game, while Trinity was 0-4 on the power play and the Panthers went 0-3.

During Saturday’s win, Sherman scored the game-winning goal after a scrum in the crease with just 1.1 seconds left in overtime for the win. The setback was gut-wrenching for the Bantams, who killed off six of seven penalties in regulation including all three of the third period before giving up the power-play goal in overtime.

Trinity’s Maffeo and Kelcie Finn both got off decent shots while the Bantams played short-handed in the final 90 seconds, but Middlebury rookie goalie Lin Han (Toronto, Ont.) made saves on both.

Bantam goaltender Kai-Lilly Karpman made a clutch stop on a shot by sophomore Jenna Marotta (Katy, Texas) inside the last minute, but the Panthers controlled the last face off and Sherman stuffed the puck in from close on the left side on a rebound of her own shot for the clinching goal.

Middlebury struck first when senior Carly Watson (Montpelier, Vt.) converted on the third of three Panther power plays in the opening 20 minutes with an assist credited to rookie Anna Zumwinkle (Excelsior, Minn.).

Trinity nearly tied the score very early in the second frame, but a one-timer by Alex Wallin was turned away by Han.  Moments later, Finn took a pass ahead from Alex Sinson and beat Han for the Bantam goal 3:30 after the first break.  The Panthers fought off a five-on-three situation later in the middle frame to keep the game tied despite a 16-11 shooting edge for the visitors.

Trinity’s Taylor Foy foiled a two-on-one for the Panthers in the scoreless third period that featured just eight shots on goal and one by Trinity. She blocked a Middlebury shot into an open net after the puck had gotten behind Karpman in the overtime. Karpman finished with 25 saves, while Han had 15 stops for the Panthers, earning her first collegiate victory. Middlebury held a 27-16 shots advantage in the game.

• Women’s hockey record: 2-0-0
• Up Next: 11/26 vs. Utica – 2:00 p.m., Adrian vs. Plattsburgh State – 5:00 p.m., (Panther/Cardinal Classic), 11/27 – Consolation Game/Championship Game – 1:00 p.m./4:00 p.m.