Middlebury's Madie Leidt scored early in the first period and goalie Lin Han made it stand, as the Panthers recorded a 1-0 shutout over Bowdoin on Friday. Sixth-ranked Middlebury (9-3-1, 5-1-1) and the Polar Bears (7-5-1, 1-5-1) conclude their two-game NESCAC series Saturday at 3:00 p.m.
The victory was the 550th career win for long-time head coach Bill Mandigo. Mandigo has won more women's hockey games than any other coach in NCAA history in his 30 seasons behind the bench, boasting a mark of 550-145-40.
Middlebury jumped out to the early lead, scoring 4:07 into the contest on a play that started behind its own net. Han stopped the puck for Jenna Marotta, who pushed the puck up to Leidt. The Panther skated through a pair of Polar Bear defenders, before picking the top-right corner of the net from the left circle.
The hosts nearly doubled the lead with just under eight minutes remaining, as Janka Hlinka had two bids from point-blank range turned aside by Bowdoin goalie Kerri St. Denis. Han's best save of the period came minutes later when Brooke Soloman redirected a shot from in tight on the rush.
Both teams had scoring chances in the middle stanza with Hlinka getting the first one for the hosts. Maddie Winslow centered a pass to the top of the crease, but Hlinka's shot went just wide of the right post. In the final minute of the period, the Polar Bears had two quality chances while on the power play. Meg Sheehan directed a shot on goal from the right point through traffic that Han blocked away with her waffle board. Han came up with another key save seconds later, thwarting Marissa Fichter from the left side, keeping the difference at one goal.
Bowdoin had a good opportunity to get the equalizer midway through the third period, when Fichter skated out of the left corner and fired a shot off Han's shoulder. Seconds later, Katie Leininger's tip in front was sticked aside by Han. Middlebury looked for an insurance goal in the closing minutes with Katherine Jackson and Rachael St. Clair putting shots on goal, only to be denied by St. Denis. Bowdoin pulled St. Denis for an extra attacker for the final 1:15, but Middlebury's defense allowed only one shot on goal and erased the remaining time for the team's fourth-straight victory.
Han collected 27 saves for her team-leading fourth shutout of the season, as Middlebury ran its streak of not allowing a goal to 180:04. St. Denis finished with 24 saves, as the Polar Bears held a 27-25 edge in shots. Middlebury went 1-2 on the power play and muted all four Bowdoin attempts.