Women’s Hockey Tourney Ends in Upset

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Women’s Hockey Tourney Ends in Upset

By Colin McIntyre

Connecticut College came to Kenyon Arena on Saturday, March 1 and upset top seed Middlebury in a 2-1 overtime win that saw the Panthers eliminated in the quarterfinals for the first time in NESCAC tournament history. The eighth-seeded Camels scored ten minutes into the sudden-death overtime period to advance to next week’s championship at Williams.

In an even opening few minutes, the Camels went ahead when Ashley Anctil managed to slip a rebound shot past Annabelle Jones ’15 six minutes into the contest.  Minutes later, Amanda Bogue was whistled for the first of nine Camels penalties on the night.

Middlebury had several chances to equalize, as they kept up pressure in the first period.  Madeline Joyce ’14 and Julia Wardwell ’16 both had close calls but the Panthers went into the first intermission trailing 1-0.

The second period was all Middlebury. The Panthers immediately controlled the puck as Jennifer Krakower ’14 passed the puck to Pam Schulman ’17 in the zone.  Schulman crossed the puck into the crease to Joyce, who knotted the game with a one-time goal.

Middlebury continued to dominate, often orchestrating long possessions in the offensive zone. The Panthers were the beneficiaries of four more penalties, including over 30 seconds of 5-on-3 play in the period. They peppered the net with 13 shots to the Camels’ 2, but were unable to take the lead.

“I think we created good chances and controlled the puck well,” Captain Sara Ugalde ’14 said, “We just weren’t able to finish the chances we got.”

In the third period, Middlebury fired off another 11 shots, and had a full two minutes of 5-on-3 hockey, but couldn’t find the back of the net. The Kenyon Arena crowd bemoaned each Middlebury near miss, as the Panthers saw several close shots ricochet off of the framework or grabbed by Camels goalie Kelsie Fralick, who had 39 stops on the night. The Middlebury defensive line held strong in the closing minutes, killing off the lone Conn. College power play to send the game into overtime.

In extra time, both teams had opportunities, none closer than Joyce’s break where she was pulled down by Camels defender Julie Beattie. Beattie was penalized for the tripping seven minutes into extra time.  Middlebury’s final power play was similar to their first seven.

“We moved the puck really well on the power play this weekend and definitely had our chances,” Laura McConney ’15 said, “we just couldn’t find the rebounds.”

The Panthers allowed Conn. College to come back to full strength, where the Camels tipped a shot past Jones for the win ten minutes into overtime.  Conn. College finished with only 20 shots to Middlebury’s 40.

The NESCAC tournament soldiers on to its final weekend in Williamstown, where third-seeded Williams will host the remaining teams. Middlebury, meanwhile, awaits the NCAA playoff pairings, to be announced on Sunday, March 9. As the fourth-ranked team in the nation, they could receive an at-large bid.

“The mindset for this week is to bounce back from the loss,” Ugalde said, “As always, we will work hard to get better every day.”

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