Middlebury broke open a scoreless game with a pair of second-period goals and used a 26-save shutout from Lin Han, as the Panthers netted a 3-0 road win at Hamilton (11-7-0, 5-5-0) on Saturday. Second-ranked Middlebury (13-2-2, 8-1-1) play its final non-conference game of the season on Tuesday, heading to seventh-ranked Norwich for a 7:00 p.m. faceoff against the Cadets.
The opening 20 minutes saw plenty of special-teams play, with the Panthers coming up empty in three opportunities, while the hosts had two chances, including a brief period of five-on-three play. Han backstopped Middlebury through that stretch, stopping a flurry of three-straight Continental shots, as the contest remained scoreless at the first intermission.
Middlebury got its offense going in the second period, scoring a pair of goals. Jenna Letterie created a turnover behind the Hamilton net and fed Katie Hargrave on the doorstep, who netted her third tally of the season with 11:34 on the clock. The visitors doubled the lead with a power-play marker 2:29 later. Madie Leidt's shot from the left side was denied by Continental goalie Sidney Molnar, but Claudia Vira pinched in from the right point to bury the rebound for her first collegiate goal.
The game stayed a two-goal difference late into the third period with the hosts getting a power play with 2:16 remaining. Hamilton pulled Molnar for a two-skater advantage, but a great individual effort by Leidt resulted in a shorthanded empty-net goal with 49.5 seconds left in the game.
The shutout was Han's fifth of the season, while Molnar had 19 stops.
The Continentals had a 26-22 edge in shots, but the Panthers won the battle of special teams, going 1-4 on the power play and killing all five shorthanded situations.