Special Teams Spark #4 Middlebury Past Wesleyan

Anna Goldstein made 24 saves en route to her third career shutout.
Anna Goldstein made 24 saves en route to her third career shutout.

Middlebury scored on all three of its power-play opportunities and erased Wesleyan's three chances, as the Panthers netted a 4-0 victory Saturday in Kenyon Arena. The victory completed a two-game NESCAC sweep for Middlebury, as they extended the all-time lead in the series against the Cardinals to 55-0-3. The fourth-ranked Panthers (14-4-1, 10-1-1) travel to top-ranked Norwich for a 7:00 p.m. start on Tuesday, while Wesleyan (5-11-4, 1-7-4) is at Trinity Friday for a 7:30 p.m. faceoff.

For the second-straight game, the hosts used a power-play goal in the first period to jump in front 1-0. Middlebury worked the puck around the zone, before Jenna Marotta found Jessica Young in the right circle. Young fired a shot that Cardinal goalie Allegra Grant got a piece of, but the puck snuck through at the 9:53 mark. The Panthers had a good chance to double their advantage in the final minutes, as Young set up Maddie Winslow for a chance on the rush. Elizabeth Wulf followed up the play and got a stab at the rebound that Grant denied.

Special teams continued to excel for Middlebury in second period, as the Panthers tallied twice more on the power play. Sidney Portner made it 2-0 at the 8:25 mark, lifting a loose puck in the slot past Grant. The Cardinals had a good scoring chance taken away minutes later, when Marotta broke up a 2-on-1 with Alexis Banquer poised to take a shot from the bottom of the right circle. The hosts tacked on another power-play tally with 6:52 left in the period, as Anna Zumwinkle's shot from the left point found the net for a 3-0 lead.

The Panther penalty kill muted both chances by Wesleyan in the third period, including a brief 5-on-3 opportunity for 19 seconds. The Cardinals forced Middlebury goalie Anna Goldstein to make her toughest save with 2:48 remaining, when she sticked aside a deflection in front by Sarah Takahashi. Wulf capped the scoring with 1:19 left in the contest, blasting a rebound from the left circle on a shot from Meghan Keating over Grant's shoulder. The assist was Keating's first collegiate point.

Goldstein made 11 saves for her second shutout of the season, while Grant recorded 43 stops. Middlebury held a 47-11 advantage in shots. As a team, the Panthers have recorded nine shutouts on the season and six in the last nine contests.