Middlebury wrapped up the regular season, suffering a 3-1 setback at third-ranked Plattsburgh State (23-2-0) on Tuesday. The 10th-ranked Panthers (14-7-3) open the NESCAC Tournament at home on Saturday, hosting Connecticut College in a quarterfinal contest at 3:00 p.m.
The teams skated through a scoreless first period with special teams playing a big role. Middlebury had three power plays, while the Cardinals had a pair. On the first Panther advantage in the opening minutes, Plattsburgh State's Mackenzie Millen had a shorthanded breakaway against Middlebury's Anna Goldstein, but the netminder kicked our her right pad for the save. The best chance for the Panthers came just past the midway point of the frame when Madie Leidt cut to the slot, only to have her scoring bid thwarted by goalie Kassi Abbott.
The hosts netted the game's first goal just 1:33 into the middle stanza when Kaitlin Drew-Mead scored on a breakaway. Less than a minute later, the Cardinals nearly doubled the lead on a 2-on-1, but Goldstein turned aside Nicole Unsworth's bid from the left circle.
Middlebury started the third period with 1:49 of power-play time, but was unable to even the score against the nation's top penalty-killing unit. At 6:48 of the period, the hosts doubled their lead when Abby Brush slipped a shot through the legs of Goldstein on another breakaway. The Panthers cut the margin in half with a goal at the 15:13 mark. Katie Hargrave collected the puck behind the Cardinal net and sent a pass to Anna Zumwinkle at the top of the right circle. Zumwinkle wristed a shot through traffic for her fourth marker of the season.
Middlebury pulled Goldstein for an extra attacker with 56 seconds remaining, but Annie Katonka deposited the puck into an empty net with 25.5 seconds on the clock for the 3-1 final.
Goldstein finished with a season-high 42 saves, while Abbott registered 20 for Plattsburgh State. The Cardinals held a 45-21 edge in shots and each team came up empty on the power play, with the Panthers getting six chances and the hosts five.
The win extended Plattsburgh State's winning streak to 12-straight games, which is the second-longest streak in the country.