Second-ranked Middlebury kicked of the 2020 part of its schedule with a 5-1 victory over visiting SUNY Potsdam on Tuesday in Kenyon Arena. The Panthers (6-0-2) head to UMass Boston for a 4:00 p.m. faceoff on Friday, while the Bears (4-7-0) return home on the same day to host the University of New England at 3:00 p.m.
Middlebury held a big territorial advantage in the opening 20 minutes, outshooting the Bears 17-3. Potsdam goalie Alexa Pfeiffer made a number of key saves before the hosts broke through with a shorthanded tally with 2:56 on the clock. Ellie Barney entered the Bear zone on the right wing and put a perfect centering pass on the tape of Ashley McDonald's stick at the top of the crease for the score. The Panthers doubled the lead with 1:01 remaining, as Delanie Goniweicha collected the puck from the left boards after a nice poke check by Sidney Portner in the neutral zone, cut to the slot and lifted a shot over Pfeiffer for the score.
Potsdam struck for an early goal in the middle period when Miranda Kolb gained possession at the Panther blue line. She fired a shot from the left side that Middlebury goalie Anna Goldstein got a piece of, but Kaylee Merrill poked in the rebound as it slid through the crease with 2:44 elapsed.
Middlebury got the goal back just past the midway mark of the stanza, as Katie Hargrave and Goniwiecha worked together in the corner, with Goniwiecha skating the puck to the slot and wristing a shot inside the right post for a 3-1 cushion.
In the third frame, Middlebury took advantage of a pair of early power plays to increase the lead to 5-1. Madie Leidt stepped in from the point a whistled a shot into the upper-left corner of the net with 2:03 expired, pushing her modest point streak to four-straight games. Jenna Letterie made it a four-goal difference, winning a faceoff before getting a return feed from Maddie Bayard for a goal with 14:28 showing on the clock to close out the scoring.
Goldstein notched 10 saves in 45:32 of action, while Caroline Silk registered five in the final 14:28. Pfeiffer recorded 41 saves for the visitors, as the hosts boasted a 46-16 advantage in shots. Middlebury shined on special teams, going 2-3 on the power play and killing off all four Potsdam chances with one.