Women’s Hockey Sweeps Trinity, But Falls to Ranked Teams

Middlebury Women's Hockey

Middlebury Women's Hockey

By SEBASTIAN SANCHEZ

The No. 6 women’s hockey team split its first four games of the season. They opened up with a weekend sweep of conference rival Trinity on Nov. 17 and 18 at home in Kenyon Arena, then fell by scores of 4–1 to No. 3 Elmira College and 3–2 in OT to No. 4 Adrian at the UNO Classic hosted by Plattsburgh on Nov. 25 and 26.

Katherine Jackson ’19 and Jessica Young ’18 scored in the first period of their season opener against Trinity for the only scores of the game.

The Panthers scored five minutes into in the opening period when Maddie Winslow ’18 took a shot from the left circle that Trinity’s goalkeeper denied, but Jackson retrieved the rebound and buried it in the back of the net.

A Trinity penalty three minutes later gave the Panthers a five-on-four advantage. Elizabeth Wulf ’18 took a shot from the center of the crease, which Trinity’s goalie batted away. Jessica Young ’18 followed Wulf’s shot, controlled the rebound and slapped it into the back of the net for a power-play goal for the Panthers and, ultimately, the final score of the game.

The Bantams outshot the Panthers 27–25, yet all 27 were turned away by Panther goalie Lin Han ’20. Trinity had an opportunity to score in the final minutes of the third period, but their five-on-three advantage was not enough to sneak the puck past Han.

In the second game of the Nescac doubleheader, on Saturday Nov. 18, the guests struck first with 1:17 left in the first period. What started as a two-on-one for Trinity finished as a goal past Han’s outstretched pads. This would be Trinity’s sole score of the game and weekend, as the Panthers held them in check for the rest of the contest.

Jackson, who scored the previous day, tied the game at the end of the first period when Anna Zumwinkle ’20 rocketed a shot toward the goal. Jackson was there to finish the play with just 10.4 seconds left on the clock. The Panthers and Bantams were deadlocked with a goal apiece heading into the intermission.

Nobody scored in the second period, but Middlebury broke through in the first two minutes of the third. Madie Leidt ’21 netted her first collegiate goal, one-timing the shot off a pass from Young, who recorded her 100th career point in a Panthers uniform. With 3:24 left on the clock, Winslow and Jackson completed a give-and-go on a two-on-one rush to give the hosts a 3–1 advantage. The Panthers sealed the deal with 30.8 seconds left when Leidt recorded her second score of the game to ice what would be a 4–1 victory. Han had another impressive game, stopping 20 shots, for 47 in total over the weekend.

“It was awesome to finally get to play against another team,” said team captain Janka Hlinka ’18 after the first-weekend slate. “The excitement and anticipation were building up so we were all amped to play that first weekend. The results of the first weekend against were attributed to just working hard, winning pucks in the corners, and getting shots on net.”

Wulf agreed and added to what Hlinka said: “It’s a combination of everything. We prepared well going into the game with our systems and worked hard together. Against Trinity we scored some ‘garbage’ goals, meaning we won pucks in front of the net and found rebounds, so that was a key for us.

“Our goaltending was also very strong. Lin played unreal,” said Wulf. “I think it was a combination of capitalizing on our chances and also playing strong defensively, especially on the penalty kill.”

On Nov. 24, Panthers headed to Plattsburgh St. to compete in the UNO Classic, playing No. 3 Elmira College in the first round. In the first period, the Soaring Eagles knocked in a power-play goal — the first one allowed by Middlebury all season.

At the 16-minute mark of the second period, Middlebury scored on a power-goal of their own. Winslow found Young for her 100th career point, exactly a week after Young accomplished the feat. Importantly, it also tied the game 1–1.

Elmira was able to grab the lead back, and for good, at the 11-minute mark though. The Panthers allowed two more goals in the third period and finished with a 4–1 loss. Though a tough loss, Han made 31 stops, while the Panthers took 34 shots on goal.

“The Elmira game was tough,” said Hlinka. “But we took away from that game that playing out of conference will be more physical. We can definitely play with them. We battled hard, but now we just have to work on capitalizing on our opportunities to put the puck in the net.”

The next day, the Panthers looked to bounce back against No. 4 Adrian in the consolation game. Young put Middlebury on top 1–0 with 3:19 remaining in the first period after Zumwinkle won a faceoff and quickly passed her the puck.

The Panthers then scored again one minute into the second period, when Jackson knocked in a rebound after a breakaway attempt by Winslow was denied.

Adrian cut into the lead with a power-play goal with eight minutes left in the second and tied things with only 27 seconds left in the period on another power-play goal.

Neither team was able to score in the third period and the contest went to overtime. However, with 55 seconds left in OT, Adrian took advantage of a five-on-four advantage and scored for the win. All three Adrian goals came on the power-play.

“We had two tough losses this past weekend against two good ranked teams,” Wulf said. “The positives were that were worked hard and the effort was there, and we didn’t give up.

“What it came down to was winning pucks in front of both nets, and they won more of those battles than we did. It’s still very early on in the season, but we need to work on bearing down and capitalizing on our chances, especially against good teams like Elmira and Adrian. Those are the teams we want to play at the end of the year, so we just have to continue getting better every day.”

The Panther return to action this weekend when they host Nescac foe Connecticut College for a double-dipper on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 1 and 2. Last season, the two teams split the season series 1–1.

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