Women’s Hockey Thumps No. 10 Endicott 5–0

By SEBASTIAN SANCHEZ

Middlebury women’s hockey had quite a time this past weekend, taking to the road to handle UMass Boston on Friday, Jan. 12, and Endicott on Saturday, Jan. 13. In both contests, the Panthers blanked their opponents 5–0, outshooting UMass Boston by a margin of 40-19 and Endicott by 33–16. Middlebury now sits at 8–3–1, with their only loss in 2018 coming on Jan. 8 against Connecticut College.

During the first contest, Middlebury made use of their special teams, scoring the opening goal shorthanded after Anna Zumwinkle ’20 received a two-minute penalty for interference. Jessica Young ’18 brought the puck up on the left wing, gliding towards the goal, before centering a pass to Maddie Winslow ’18 who blasted the puck into the net. In the final minute of the first quarter, the Panthers doubled their lead thanks to a shot by Haley LaFontaine ’18. LaFontaine’s goal, as with the rest that followed, would only serve as insurance to add to Middlebury’s margin of victory in the shutout.

In the middle stanza, the Panthers ramped up the offensive pressure. Although just two shots went in, the Panthers took a stunning 22 shots on goal, including eight within the first five minutes by eight different players. Young had the closest bid, hitting the pipe before the puck ricocheted back into play.

Undeterred, the Panthers continued challenging the Beacon goalie until their persistence finally paid off at the 16:15 mark. Collecting her own rebound, Young nested a shot into the back of the net with a beautiful backhand, extending it to a 3–0 lead. In the final minute, the guests added another point to their lead: Zumwinkle blasted a shot that was batted away, but Elizabeth Wulf ’18 poked in the rebound. Wulf’s score not only gave the Panthers a 4–0 lead, but also extended her five-game point streak.

The Beacons had a chance to score in the opening minutes of the third and final stanza, but Julia Neuburger ’18, who posted 19 saves, batted away the attempt. The Panthers added their last score of the game on a power-play opportunity. With a five-on-four advantage, Jenna Marotta ’19 and Madie Liedt ’21 helped to find Young at the top of the left key, where she finished for her team leading ninth goal of the season.

“We went into the weekend knowing these were going to be two tough opponents, so had the mentality of playing our game at the level we are capable,” said Wulf. “Against UMass Boston, we generated a lot of scoring chances and it was just a matter of capitalizing and finishing on those opportunities which did, especially at the ends of periods, give us momentum going into the next period.”

Against Endicott on Saturday, Middlebury leapt  out to an early 1–0 lead. Wulf continued her hot streak when she collected a rebound from Katherine Jackson ’19 and put it through the outstretched glove of the Gulls’ goalie. The hosts had a pair of opportunities to score, but Lin Han ’20 made back-to-back saves to preserve the 1–0 lead.

In the second stanza, the Gulls were looking at a potential breakaway score from the right side, but Han remained steady and calmly batted the puck away. Later in the frame, Leidt carried the puck down into Endicott’s zone from the left wing before wristing a shot pass Endicott’s goalie to give the Panthers a 2–0 lead.

Even though Middlebury was relatively slow to start in the first two periods and entered the third stanza with a four-on-five disadvantage, the guests did not waste any time scoring in the final period. Right as the power-play ended for the Gulls, LaFontaine found the puck and passed it off to Lied cutting down the ice, who netted the third team goal and the her second of the game. A minute later, Janka Hlinka ’18 won a faceoff and fed the puck to Winslow, who deposited the shot into the back of the net for the fourth score of the game.

With a 4–0 lead, Endicott fought for a chance, but Han deterred every shot. The Panthers could smell the shutout; to seal the game, Jackson found the back of the Gulls’ net after a feed by Sydney Porter ’20. Endicott mustered a couple attempts, but they could not come back and the Panthers capped the weekend with a combined 10–0 in final scores.

Wulf commented on the momentum the team build over the weekend, hoping to build further upon it in the future. “We did not have as strong of a first period as we wanted,” she said, “but we came out hard in the second and third and put more pressure on their defense and finished our chances.

“The weekend was a testament to our focus on playing good defense, great goalie play, and our determination to generate and finish more scoring chances. Overall, we had a great weekend, and we hope to carry that play into the rest of the season!”

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