Middlebury held a slim one-goal lead early in the second half, but Colby netted the final five goals of the contest as the Mules collected a 9-6 victory over the Panthers on Saturday in Maine. Fourth-ranked Middlebury (11-3, 7-2) finishes the regular season on Wednesday, hosting Williams for a 5:30 p.m. game, while #10 Colby (11-3, 7-2) entertains Bates at 5:00 p.m. on the same day.
The Panthers opened the scoring 2:14 into the game when Emma McDonagh put the visitors on the scoreboard. After Sasha Fritts tied the contest for the hosts, Middlebury cashed in on a pair of free-position attempts with McDonagh and Hollis Perticone each finding the back of the net for a 3-1 lead with 17:09 left in the half.
The Mules scored three of the next four goals, knotting the score at 4-4, but Middlebury's Bea Eppler converted on a feed from Jenna McNicholas with 4:45 on the clock for a one-goal advantage. The hosts sent the game into the half tied 5-5, as Kendall Smith scored with just over a minute remaining.
In the second half, Eppler gave the Panthers a 6-5 lead 1:03 into the new stanza, but the Mules pulled even minutes later. Middlebury had a chance to regain the lead on a free-position attempt by Mary O'Connell, but her shot went off the crossbar.
Colby took the lead for good with 21:01 left in the half, as Fritts netted her third goal of the contest on a free-position attempt. Kelsey Bowen made it a two-goal lead for the hosts as Emilie Klein tallied with 2:17 on the clock. The Mules won the ensuing draw control and never relinquished possession to earn the 9-6 win.
Eppler, McDonagh and Perticone each tallied twice for the Panthers, while Perticone added three caused turnovers. Jessie Yorke paced Middlebury with three ground balls and Sara DiCenso added three draw controls. For Colby, Fritts led all players with three tallies and Klein sparked the defense with five caused turnovers, three ground balls and three draw controls.
In goal for Middlebury, Kate Furber (9-3) suffered the loss with five saves, while Izzy Scribano (7-2) had nine stops for the victory.
The Panthers held a slim 19-17 edge in shots and 11-6 in draw controls, while Colby boasted 14-11 advantage in ground balls. The Mules also made the most of their free-position attempts, scoring on all three shots, while limiting Middlebury to 2-7.