Eighth-ranked Middlebury skated to a 1-1 tie with second-ranked Adrian Saturday in the opening round of the Panther/Cardinal Classic, as the Panthers (3-0-2) advanced to the championship game by winning a shootout 1-0. Middlebury plays for the title on Sunday at 4:00 p.m. against top-ranked Plattsbugh, a 3-1 winner over seventh-ranked University of Wisconsin-River Falls. The consolation game will take place at 1:00 p.m. between Adrian and UWRF.
Adrian jumped out to a 1-0 lead with 5:09 expired in the contest, as the visitors became the first team this season to register a power-play goal against Middlebury. Abbie Grias feathered a pass inside the Panther zone to Maggie Mitter as she raced toward the net. Mitter hit the right post with her initial shot, but cleaned up her own rebound for the goal. The hosts nearly pulled even while on a power play of their own later in the frame. Adrian goalie Deniska Jandova made four stellar saves on a flurry as the penalty expired to protect the advantage.
In the middle period, the Bulldogs muted a Middlebury player advantage and had their best scoring chance of the frame just after the penalty expired. Nicole Guagliardo rushed the net, but her scoring bid was turned back by Panther goalie Lin Han. The hosts had another power play in the final five minutes, with Jandova making three-straight saves on Madie Leidt, including a rising one-timer from the left circle to keep the difference at one.
Middlebury knotted the game at 1-1 just 3:16 into the final stanza, cashing in on a power play. Maddie Bayard won the puck in the corner and fed Leidt in the right circle, who slid into a better shooting position and fired a shot into the upper-right corner of the net. Jenna Letterie had a great chance to put the hosts in front with a deflection on a shot by Bayard minutes later, but Jandova kicked out the bid.
Adrian had a power play in the latter stages of the third, but the Panthers muted the chance sending the game to overtime.
The hosts had all three shots in the five-minute extra session, including two on a late player advantage as the contest finished deadlocked at 1-1.
A three-round shootout determined which team advanced to the title game, with Middlebury's Anna Zumwinkle netting the only goal among the six shooters.
Han stopped 19-20 shots for the Panthers, while Jandova saved 43-44. Middlebury scored once in six power-play opportunities and the Bulldogs converted one of two.