February 13, 2012

The Panther women’s hockey team picked up three more wins last week, two of them against Williams. Middlebury picked up a 7-1 non-league road win at N.E.C. on Tuesday night at Lee Clement Arena. 

Middlebury scored one first period goal, coming at the 12:29 mark by junior Lauren Greer (North Hampton, N.H.) at the 12:29 mark.  The Panthers tallied six goals in the second period as rookie Hannah Bielawski (Evanston, Ill.), junior Madison Styrbicki (Edina, Minn.), sophomore Jennifer Krakower (Montreal, Quebec), sophomore Sara Ugalde (Burlington, Conn.), junior Heather Marrison (Brewster, N.Y.) and first-year player Kate Moreau (Bristol, Conn.) all notched single tallies to give the Panthers the 7-0 advantage after two periods of play.

Pilgrims goaltender Lauren Hopps posted 14 saves in the third period to hold the Panthers scoreless. NEC’s Avery Kaufmann collected a pass from Amanda Grenier and slipped it past Middlebury senior goaltender Becca Shaw (South Burlington, Vt.) with 1:51 remaining in the game to snap the Panther’s shutout attempts. 

NEC goaltender Kristen Conners made 12 saves in the loss in 29:19 of action before giving way to Hopps, who earned 17 saves in the remaining 30:41 of action. Middlebury goaltender Laura Pinsent (Labrador City, Newfoundland) posted eight saves over two periods of action before Shaw entered the game in relief, tallying three saves. 

Middlebury wrapped up the game finishing 4-6 on the power play, while NEC did not score with the extra skater in three attempts.

Middlebury took game one of a home-and-home with Williams, topping the Ephs 5-1 in Williamstown. The Panthers scored three unanswered goals in a 1:18 span in the third period to secure the win.

Middlebury took a 1-0 lead in the second period with a power play goal at the 5:32 mark. Ugalde sent the puck across the ice to junior Maggie Woodward (Dover, N.H.) who ripped a close range shot over the right shoulder of Chloe Billadeau, earning her team a 1-0 lead.  Greer  also contributed on the play.

Seconds later, first-year player Emily Fluke (Sandwich, Mass.) nearly upped Middlebury’s lead to two, following a breakaway.  Although she didn’t put the Panthers on the scoreboard, her offensive opportunity along with Ugalde’s tally would set the tone for the remaining 14:28.  Middlebury dominated the ice, recording 17 second period shots to Williams’ six.

Set up by senior Maria Bourdeau (W. Hartford, Conn.), Styrbicki fired a slapshot from just in front of the blue line to register Middlebury’s second goal of the afternoon at the 16:40 mark.

Just 46 seconds into the game’s final frame, Aimee Dennett made it a one-goal game.  Kristen Tubbs controlled the puck off a face-off in the Ephs’ offensive zone, then carried the puck behind the goal line. Tubbs slid a pass to Dennett, who was streaking into the slot and fired a shot past Jones to cut the Panthers’ lead to 2-1.

Middlebury’s took quick penalties to give the Eph power play unit their first opportunities of the evening. Williams forwards were able to pepper first-year netminder Annabelle Jones (Homer, N.Y.) and the Panther defense with several close-range shots. On a five-on-three with just under 15 minutes remaining in the period, the Ephs’ Cristina Bravi tested Jones with some solid opportunities, but the Panther netminder was able to turn away all of the Ephs’ attempts, and Middlebury was able to cling to their narrow margin.

A trio of Panthers scored in a 1:18 span cemented Middlebury’s lead and give the Panthers some room to breathe. With 4:53 left to play, senior Maggie Melberg (Woody Creek, Colo.) forced a turnover in Williams’ defensive zone, then skated the puck in close and fired a shot that eluded Billadeau to give Middlebury a 3-1 lead.

Middlebury’s Greer drew the puck off the faceoff to Sullivan, who skated up ice with Greer for a 2-on-0 with Billadeau. Sullivan broke away from a Williams defender and hit the mesh to put the Panthers up 4-1 just six seconds after Melberg’s goal.

With two Ephs in the penalty box, Middlebury collected their fifth goal of the evening with 3:35 to play. Ugalde picked up a rebound in the slot and put home the loose puck, finalizing the score at 5-1.

Billadeau turned away 29 shots between the pipes for the Ephs. Middlebury’s Jones managed to deny Williams 18 times with Greer earning three assists on the day.

Middlebury took game two of a home-and-home series with Williams, topping the Ephs 6-0 in Kenyon Arena. The win was the sixth straight for the second-ranked Panthers (18-2-2, 14-2-0), while the Ephs (9-13, 5-9) suffer their sixth straight loss. Middlebury held a 42-14 shots advantage in the contest.

            Middlebury took a 1-0 lead 11:59 into the first period on the first career goal from Fluke. Senior Grace Waters’ (Snyder, N.Y.) first shot was stopped by Chloe Bilodeau before Fluke put home the rebound. The lead grew to 2-0 with 1:04 left in the period when Sullivan carried the puck in from center ice and was denied by Bilodeau before Moreau pounced on the rebound for her third of the year, all coming in the last five games.

            The Panthers had a great shorthanded look in the second period when Waters’ redirect on a feed from Fluke was denied by Bilodeau. The exact play happened moments later, with Greer finding Sullivan for the team’s first shortie of the year at 6:55, the 12th of the season for Sullivan.

            The Ephs had a great chance to get on the board later in the period, with a power play that included 53 seconds of five-on-three play. Williams was only able to muster up one shot on goal during the advantage, as Jones kept it a 3-0 game. The Panthers increased their advantage to 4-0 when Waters scored on her own rebound for a power play goal with just 11 seconds left in the second period.

            Marrison scored her second of the year and Melberg added her ninth in the third period to make it a 6-0 final. Greer and Sullivan finished the night with two assists apiece.

            Jones finished with 12 saves in 49:05, while Shaw made a pair of stops in 10:55 of play for the Panthers. Bilodeau ended the night with 36 stops for the Ephs.
• Women’s hockey record: 18-2-2
• Up next: 2/14 @ Norwich, 2/18 vs. Plattsburgh – 4:00