Women's Hockey Downs Williams - Will Be Top Seed For NESCAC Tourney

Madie Leidt earned her first career hat trick in the win (Will Costello).
Madie Leidt earned her first career hat trick in the win (Will Costello).

Madie Leidt's hat trick led fourth-ranked Middlebury to a 4-2 win over Williams (10-7-7, 4-6-6) in the regular-season finale for both teams. The victory extends the Panther's conference unbeaten streak to 12 games (10-0-2). The Panthers (17-4-3, 13-1-2) will be the top seed for the upcoming NESCAC Tournament and will host eighth-seeded Wesleyan in a quarterfinal game next Saturday at 1:00 p.m.

Middlebury scored the only goal of the first period when Leidt put the Panthers on the board. After taking a pass from Katherine Jackson, Leidt entered the zone and snapped home a shot off the crossbar from the top of the left faceoff circle.

Williams tied the game just 17 seconds into the second period when Gabby Montembeault quickly spun and shot from the slot after gathering a loose puck.

The Panthers responded 1:18 later with a power-play goal at the 1:35 mark. Leidt sent a puck toward the net from the left point that was redirected in by Jessica Young for her team-leading 15th tally of the year.

In the third period, the Ephs had a great chance to tie the game, but Montembeault's breakaway attempt was denied by Panther goaltender Julia Neuburger. Less than a minute later, Middlebury's Jackson saw her bid tip the crossbar.

The Panthers went up 4-1 with a pair of power-play goals 30 seconds apart in similar fashion. The first came at 7:27 when Leidt one-timed a pass from Young at the left point for a five-on-three goal. The pair connected again at 7:57, this time a wrister found its way to the back on the net with a player advantage for Leidt's 13th of the season.

Middlebury had a chance to go up 5-1 midway through the period, but Maddie Winslow's penalty shot was denied by Marissa Anderson after a delay of game infraction.

Williams added a late goal on the power play with its goaltender pulled as Meghan Halloran one-timed a pass from Candace Lu to make it a 4-2 final.

The Panthers finished the game with a 38-15 shots' advantage, going 3-4 on the power play. Neuburger made 13 saves to pick up the win, while Anderson recorded 34 stops for the Ephs.