The Middlebury Campus

For the Third Straight Season, Women’s Hockey Wins Nescac Playoff and Regular Season Titles

Panthers Stave Off Bowdoin, Amherst

Michael Borenstein

Michael Borenstein

By SEBASTIAN SANCHEZ

The women’s hockey team played for and won its third consecutive Nescac championship, edging Bowdoin 2–1 in the semifinal contest on Saturday, March 3, and shutting out Amherst 2–0 on Sunday, March 4, for its 10th championship in program history.

In Saturday’s contest, Middlebury and Bowdoin battled back and forth for advantage in the opening period. Although the Panthers took 13 shots on goal, it was one of Bowdoin’s seven that found its way into the net. Lin Han ’20 blocked the initial shot, and Jenna Marotta ’19 rejected another attempt, but a Polar Bear picked up the rebound and made sure the third time was the charm, giving the guests a 1–0 lead.

Behind by one goal, Middlebury went on the power play with 9:12 remaining in the second period. With a five-on-four advantage, Maddie Winslow ’18, from the right side of the ice, centered a pass to Jessica Young ’18, who blasted a shot that deflected off two Bowdoin players and slid across the goal line for her team-leading 16th goal of the season and a 1–1 tie.

The goal was another connection for this duo that has completed dozens of assists to one another over their careers in the blue and white.

In the final period, Bowdoin’s defensive unit was put to a test, suffering four penalties in a row. The first came on a hooking call, which led to shots by Katherine Jackson ’19, Sidney Porter ’19 and Winslow, all of which went wide. After Winslow’s shot went wide and the power play opportunity ended, the next penalty came on a tripping call, which sentenced the Polar Bears to another four-on-five disadvantage. A barrage of shots on goal followed, several by Anna Zumwinkle ’19 and Elizabeth Wulf ’18, but were blocked by Bowdoin’s goalie.

As the tripping penalty expired, the Polar Bears were called for another hooking penalty. Unable to prevent mistakes, Middlebury’s power play unit bore down on their opponents, sending shot after shot towards the goal. The last penalty came when Bowdoin had too many players on the ice and the Panthers capitalized on the opportunity.

On the fourth and final power play, Marotta and Madie Leidt ’21 worked together to set up a look for Winslow, who one-timed Leidt’s slap pass from the right point into the back of the net to put Middlebury ahead 2–1.

The Polar Bears pulled their goaltender late in the final minutes, but it was not enough to tie the game, as Winslow’s goal proved to be the decisive one.

Middlebury outshot Bowdoin 41–15, while the Polar Bears also spent 14 more minutes in the penalty box, 18–4. Even though Bowdoin was outshot by 26 and spent almost a third of the game in the penalty box, the Polar Bears matched the Panthers for 60 minutes.

“Bowdoin was very physical and tough. They really made us work,” said Wulf. “When we went down 1–0, however, we didn’t panic. We knew we could come back if we played together as a team. It took a lot of grit and mental toughness to come out with the win, and it was a total team effort. I think that game showed that we can overcome adversity when we play together. The Bowdoin game united us even more, and we used the momentum from that game to play for each other in the championship game.”

For the fourth consecutive year, the Panthers advanced to the championship game to compete against the Amherst Mammoths on Sunday, March 4.

Neither team scored in the opening period, even though the Mammoths had two opportunities to sneak the puck pass Han, who has had a spectacular season — she has recorded 335 saves.

On the hosts’ side, Marotta’s shot from the right side made it through traffic before hitting the roadblock that was the Mammoths’ goalie. Winslow aggressively dove at the rebound but was also denied, and the contest carried into the second period with goose eggs on the scoreboard.

Continued onto Page B8

Continued from Page B1

Middlebury pulled away, however, at the 8:56 mark with a play that started right outside of the Amherst blue line. Leidt worked to create a turnover and Young quickly took over position of the puck. Carrying it down the ice, as she has done for the past four years, she found some space and fired a laser shot past the goaltender’s shoulder to give the Panthers a 1–0 lead. Han preserved the lead with another glove-side save, and the hosts headed into the third and final period of the 2018 Nescac playoffs.

The hosts doubled their advantage in the third stanza when Hayley LaFontaine ’18 took a shot from the point, which was redirected by Wulf into the back of the net.

Amherst tried to make something happen with two minutes left, but to no avail. As the clock winded down, the crowd grew louder, yelling and screaming, and the excitement of a three-repeat reverberated through Kenyon Arena. With ten seconds left, the Panthers trapped the puck on the boards, let time expire and dog-piled in front of their net.

“It’s indescribable. I’m still speechless,” said Wulf after reflecting on her third championship in four years. “It’s so special and an incredible feeling. I can’t stop smiling!”

“To make history and do it with this class and this team is beyond amazing,” Wulf continued amid the postgame excitement. “It’s something we will remember forever. As a senior class, we were so happy to come out on top and win our last home game at Kenyon.”

Julie Neuburger ’18 chimed in to express her excitement and happiness:

“Winning is always an exciting thing, but it’s definitely more special when you can do it in your own house in front of all your fans,” she said. “We have some of the best fans this sport has to offer from both the community and college, and we definitely fed off all the energy they brought to Kenyon on Sunday afternoon. There really are no words to describe those last 10 seconds or even the last minute. You’re just counting down in your head until you can run out onto the ice and jump and celebrate and be surrounded by your whole team.”

The Panthers still have work to do, hoping to secure a national championship for the first time since 2006. They are back on the ice this weekend, gearing up to play No. 1-ranked Plattsburgh State.

“For NCAA’s the focus right now is all on Plattsburgh,” said Wulf. “We said we wanted to play them again in March after we lost to them earlier this season because we knew we had more in us and could beat them. We are a much different and better team now than when we played them last, so we are super excited about the game Saturday.

“As the reigning four-[season]-straight national champions, we know Plattsburgh is good, but we are confident that if play our best hockey, we can win.”

The women’s hockey team played for and won its third consecutive Nescac championship, edging Bowdoin 2–1 in the semifinal contest on Saturday, March 3, and shutting out Amherst 2–0 on Sunday, March 4, for its 10th championship in program history.

In Saturday’s contest, Middlebury and Bowdoin battled back and forth for advantage in the opening period. Although the Panthers took 13 shots on goal, it was one of Bowdoin’s seven that found its way into the net. Lin Han ’20 blocked the initial shot, and Jenna Marotta ’19 rejected another attempt, but a Polar Bear picked up the rebound and made sure the third time was the charm, giving the guests a 1–0 lead.

Behind by one goal, Middlebury went on the power play with 9:12 remaining in the second period. With a five-on-four advantage, Maddie Winslow ’18, from the right side of the ice, centered a pass to Jessica Young ’18, who blasted a shot that deflected off two Bowdoin players and slid across the goal line for her team-leading 16th goal of the season and a 1–1 tie.

The goal was another connection for this duo that has completed dozens of assists to one another over their careers in the blue and white.

In the final period, Bowdoin’s defensive unit was put to a test, suffering four penalties in a row. The first came on a hooking call, which led to shots by Katherine Jackson ’19, Sidney Porter ’19 and Winslow, all of which went wide. After Winslow’s shot went wide and the power play opportunity ended, the next penalty came on a tripping call, which sentenced the Polar Bears to another four-on-five disadvantage. A barrage of shots on goal followed, several by Anna Zumwinkle ’19 and Elizabeth Wulf ’18, but were blocked by Bowdoin’s goalie.

As the tripping penalty expired, the Polar Bears were called for another hooking penalty. Unable to prevent mistakes, Middlebury’s power play unit bore down on their opponents, sending shot after shot towards the goal. The last penalty came when Bowdoin had too many players on the ice and the Panthers capitalized on the opportunity.

On the fourth and final power play, Marotta and Madie Leidt ’21 worked together to set up a look for Winslow, who one-timed Leidt’s slap pass from the right point into the back of the net to put Middlebury ahead 2–1.

The Polar Bears pulled their goaltender late in the final minutes, but it was not enough to tie the game, as Winslow’s goal proved to be the decisive one.

Middlebury outshot Bowdoin 41–15, while the Polar Bears also spent 14 more minutes in the penalty box, 18–4. Even though Bowdoin was outshot by 26 and spent almost a third of the game in the penalty box, the Polar Bears matched the Panthers for 60 minutes.

“Bowdoin was very physical and tough. They really made us work,” said Wulf. “When we went down 1–0, however, we didn’t panic. We knew we could come back if we played together as a team. It took a lot of grit and mental toughness to come out with the win, and it was a total team effort. I think that game showed that we can overcome adversity when we play together. The Bowdoin game united us even more, and we used the momentum from that game to play for each other in the championship game.”

For the fourth consecutive year, the Panthers advanced to the championship game to compete against the Amherst Mammoths on Sunday, March 4.

Neither team scored in the opening period, even though the Mammoths had two opportunities to sneak the puck pass Han, who has had a spectacular season — she has recorded 335 saves.

On the hosts’ side, Marotta’s shot from the right side made it through traffic before hitting the roadblock that was the Mammoths’ goalie. Winslow aggressively dove at the rebound but was also denied, and the contest carried into the second period with goose eggs on the scoreboard.

Continued onto Page B8

Continued from Page B1

Middlebury pulled away, however, at the 8:56 mark with a play that started right outside of the Amherst blue line. Leidt worked to create a turnover and Young quickly took over position of the puck. Carrying it down the ice, as she has done for the past four years, she found some space and fired a laser shot past the goaltender’s shoulder to give the Panthers a 1–0 lead. Han preserved the lead with another glove-side save, and the hosts headed into the third and final period of the 2018 Nescac playoffs.

The hosts doubled their advantage in the third stanza when Hayley LaFontaine ’18 took a shot from the point, which was redirected by Wulf into the back of the net.

Amherst tried to make something happen with two minutes left, but to no avail. As the clock winded down, the crowd grew louder, yelling and screaming, and the excitement of a three-repeat reverberated through Kenyon Arena. With ten seconds left, the Panthers trapped the puck on the boards, let time expire and dog-piled in front of their net.

“It’s indescribable. I’m still speechless,” said Wulf after reflecting on her third championship in four years. “It’s so special and an incredible feeling. I can’t stop smiling!”

“To make history and do it with this class and this team is beyond amazing,” Wulf continued amid the postgame excitement. “It’s something we will remember forever. As a senior class, we were so happy to come out on top and win our last home game at Kenyon.”

Julie Neuburger ’18 chimed in to express her excitement and happiness:

“Winning is always an exciting thing, but it’s definitely more special when you can do it in your own house in front of all your fans,” she said. “We have some of the best fans this sport has to offer from both the community and college, and we definitely fed off all the energy they brought to Kenyon on Sunday afternoon. There really are no words to describe those last 10 seconds or even the last minute. You’re just counting down in your head until you can run out onto the ice and jump and celebrate and be surrounded by your whole team.”

The Panthers still have work to do, hoping to secure a national championship for the first time since 2006. They are back on the ice this weekend, gearing up to play No. 1-ranked Plattsburgh State.

“For NCAA’s the focus right now is all on Plattsburgh,” said Wulf. “We said we wanted to play them again in March after we lost to them earlier this season because we knew we had more in us and could beat them. We are a much different and better team now than when we played them last, so we are super excited about the game Saturday.

“As the reigning four-[season]-straight national champions, we know Plattsburgh is good, but we are confident that if play our best hockey, we can win.”

Leave a Comment