February 9, 2010

 The Panther women's hockey team extended their unbeaten streak to seven games with a 4-1 victory against Connecticut College (5-12-2, 2-7-2) at Dayton Arena Friday afternoon. The fifth ranked Panthers took the lead for good with a pair of power play goals scored just 59 seconds apart in the second period.

         Junior Anna McNally (St. Paul, Minn.), junior Nora Bergman (Concord, Mass.) and rookie Heather Marrison (Brewster, N.Y.) all contributed with a goal and an assist for the winning side. Maggie Woodward (Dover, N.H.) chipped in with an empty-net score. Junior netminder Lexi Bloom (Highland Park, Ill.) collected 10 of her 19 saves in the second period of action for the winning side.

         Connecticut College junior Abby Hine scored her fifth goal of the season. Brigid O'Gorman assisted on the tally. Senior Sara Christopher stopped 24 shots, including a nifty kick stop on a penalty shot that preserved a scoreless tie in the first period of action.

         The Camels were tested early when rookie Lauren Greer (N. Hampton, N.H.) walked in for a shot from point blank range but Christopher put a blocker on the puck to make the save. Later on in the frame, Ashley Bairos (Van Nuys, Calif.) tried to find the top shelf but Christopher was able to climb the ladder to come up with the puck. With 2:33 remaining, Christopher denied sophomore Maggie Melberg (Woody Creek, Colo.) with her back-handed bid on the penalty shot and the teams were headed to the first intermission in a scoreless tie.

         In the middle period, Hine opened the scoring at 8:53 with a put back of her shot to put the Camels on top 1-0. But the Panthers used their power play to jumpstart their offense. In a 5-on-3 situation, Marrison buried a slap shot from the right point for the equalizer. Marrison assisted on the next goal as she hit McNally with a pass in the slot for the go-ahead goal.

         In the third period, Hine made a nice move in front of the goal to tie the game, but Marrison stopped the play by committing a cross-checking penalty. The Panthers were able to skate off the infraction without any further damage. Bergman scored the backbreaking goal with 1:39 remaining at the left post in an odd women rush to make it a 3-1 Middlebury lead. The Panthers added the empty net goal to close out the 4-1 win.

         Riley Smith scored with 45 seconds left in the third period to break a 2-2 tie and lift Hamilton to a 3-2 upset win against fifth-ranked Middlebury in a NESCAC game at Hamilton's Russell Sage Rink. Middlebury had won 40 straight vs. the Continentals, dating back to a 2-1 loss in '82-'83.

Smith's fifth goal this season was assisted by Emily Baxter and Rachel Rapoza. The Continentals (8-8-3 overall, 3-6-3 NESCAC) tied the score with 2:56 remaining in the third when Laura DiCarlo tallied a power-play goal. The goal was DiCarlo's seventh this season.

Amy Allen staked Hamilton to a 1-0 lead just 23 seconds into the second period with her team-leading 10th goal. Katie Zimmerman picked up the assist. Bairos single-handedly put the Panthers in front with two goals later in the period. The first one came at 6:09 while the teams skated 4-on-4. Bairos' ninth goal of the season was scored unassisted on the power play with 6:42 left in the second. Middlebury (13-5-1, 10-3-1) had pulled their goalie before Bairos' goal due to a delayed tripping penalty call on the Continentals.

Allen finished with one goal and one assist, and Rapoza was credited with two assists for Hamilton. Becca Hazlett kept the Continentals in the game with 40 saves. Hazlett has a 2.02 goals against average and is ranked in the top five in Division III with a .940 save percentage.

Senior netminder Lani Wright (Reading, Mass.) stopped 22 shots for the Panthers, who had gone 6-0-1 in their previous seven games. Middlebury was 1-for-4 on the power play and Hamilton was 1-for-5. 

• Women's hockey record: 13-5-1

• Up next: 2/10 @ Plattsburgh, 2/12 vs. Potsdam - 7:00