#1 Plattsburgh State Hands #2 Middlebury Its First Loss

Eva Hendrikson scored for the Panthers Tuesday at Plattsburgh State.
Eva Hendrikson scored for the Panthers Tuesday at Plattsburgh State.

Second-ranked Middlebury saw its season-opening 12-game unbeaten streak come to an end, as top-ranked Plattsburgh State (18-1-0) picked up a 4-1 victory on Tuesday in Stafford Arena. Middlebury (10-1-2) was the last team in in the country to suffer a loss and the Cardinals salvaged a season split in the season series with the Panthers. Middlebury returns home this weekend for a pair of key NESCAC matchups against Colby, with the opening contest set for Friday at 7:00 p.m.

The visitors had the initial scoring chance of the contest with three minutes off the clock, as Madie Leidt had her bid from the top of the blue paint denied by Plattsburgh State goalie Ashley Davis. The Cardinals cashed in on their first power-play opportunity with 10:12 on the clock when Ivy Boric sent a pass through the slot from the left circle to Sara Krauseneck just beyond the right post, who netted her 13th marker of the season. The hosts doubled the lead with 29 seconds left before the intermission taking advantage of a failed Middlebury clear, as Nicole Unsworth batted in a loose puck at the top of the crease.

In the middle frame, Plattsburgh State came close to making it a three-goal cushion with 16:25 on the clock, as Annie Katonka hit the right post from deep in the slot. Middlebury's best flurry came towards the end of a power play just past the midway point, as Claudia Vira fired a shot from the point that Davis stopped, while also denying follow-up bids by Sidney Portner and Katie Hargrave. The Panthers had another player advantage later in the stanza, with Maddie Bayard getting the best chance with a redirect in front that Davis ushered into the corner.

The hosts made it 3-0 with another goal late in the period, when Madison Walker lifted a shot into the upper part of the net from between the hash marks with 1:58 before the second intermission.

Middlebury took advantage of some carry over power-play time to start final 20 minutes to get on the scoreboard. Eva Hendrikson's slap shot from the high slot eluded Davis' blocker and went into the net to make it a 3-1 contest with only 52 seconds expired. Moments later, Panther goalie Lin Han made key stop on an odd-man rush with a save on Unsworth, before adding another big save on a bid by Krauseneck with 13 minutes remaining.

Middlebury pulled Han for an extra attacker with 2:10 left in the period, but Unsworth scored into an empty net with 1:47 remaining to close out the 4-1 final.  

Han finished with 28 saves for the Panthers, while Davis recorded 21 stops for the hosts. Plattsburgh State held a 34-22 advantage and each team tallied once on the power play, with Middlebury getting three chances and the Cardinals a pair.