Middlebury picked up a 3-1 win in game one of a key two-game NESCAC series at Hamilton on Friday night. The fifth-ranked Panthers (11-3-1, 7-1-1) will face the Continentals (10-5-1, 7-2) again on Saturday, this time with a 3:00 p.m. face-off.
Middlebury took a 1-0 lead just 2:38 into the game when Elizabeth Wulf capitalized on a rebound after a shot from Jenna Marotta had been saved. The Panthers ended the period with a 10-6 shots advantage and a 1-0 lead.
Neither team found the back of the net in the second period, with the best chance coming from Middlebury's Jessica Young, who hit the crossbar at the 16:30 mark.
Janka Hlinka gave her team a 2-0 lead 6:28 into the third period. Young won a face-off back to Hlinka, before her wrister from the top of the right circle snuck under the crossbar and into the back of the net.
Hamilton made it a 2-1 game with a power play goal midway through the period at the 10:01 mark when Andrea Rockey scored on a one-timer from Michaela Giuttari. The goal was the first given up by the Panthers in over 290 minutes of play.
Young gave the Panthers some breathing room with 5:03 remaining, scoring her team leading 10th goal of the season, this one coming on the power play. After taking a feed from Marotta, Young skated into the high slot and scored with a wrist shot.
Middlebury finished the game with a 36-19 lead in shots, including an 18-5 margin in the third period. Lin Han made 18 saves in goal to pick up the win, while Sam Walther made 33 stops for Hamilton. Walther entered the game leading the country in save percentage, while ranking second in goals against average.