WOMEN'S HOCKEY EARNS SPLIT WITH AMHERST, TOPS UTICA
January 16, 2012
The Panther women’s hockey team outshot Utica 41-19, edging the Pioneers (6-8) by a slim 2-1 score in a non-league game played in Kenyon Arena.
Following a scoreless first period which saw Middlebury with a 16-4 shots advantage, the Panthers took a 1-0 lead with a power play goal 7:24 into the second session. Sophomore Madeline Joyce (Boxborough, Mass.) fed rookie Hannah Bielawski (Evanston, Ill.) at the right point, as she sent in a shot towards goal. Junior Maggie Woodward (Dover, N.H.), tipped in the blast for her fifth of the season. Bielawski picked up her team-best eighth assist on the tally, while Joyce earned her fifth.
The Panthers made it a 2-0 game with a five-on-three power play goal at the 14:58 mark of the second period. Senior Maggie Melberg’s (Woody Creek, Colo.) shot from the left side was deflected, falling to sophomore Sarah Ugalde (Burlington, Conn.) in the high slot. Ugalde gathered the puck and snapped a wrister into the top right corner of the net for her team-leading fourth power play and sixth goal of the season, both team highs. Bielawski earned her second assist of the game, increasing her total to nine on the season. The period ended with Middlebury holding a 31-10 shots advantage and a 2-0 lead.
Utica got on the board 8:39 into the third period, making it a 2-1 game. Kelsey Dowdall’s shot from the right side was saved by sophomore netminder Laura Pinsent (Labrador City, Newfoundland), with the rebound falling to Megan Myers who buried her team-leading seventh of the year. The Pioneers had an immediate two-minute power play following the goal, but were unable to tie the game up.
Pinsent finished the game with 18 saves to move to 4-0, while Jennifer Hamel made 39 stops for Utica.
Middlebury dropped game one of a two-game set at Amherst by a score of 3-2 on Friday night. Geneva Lloyd and Ellen Swiontkowski each recorded a goal and an assist to lead sixth-ranked Amherst to the win over #4 Middlebury at Orr Rink.
With both teams entering the weekend undefeated in NESCAC play, the Lord Jeffs improved to 7-3-4 against the Panthers since 2007. Opening the season with a 10-game unbeaten streak, Middlebury fell to 8-1-2 with the loss.
Hoping to get the home team off to a fast start, Swiontkowski registered the Jeffs’ first good scoring opportunity just under the 14-minute mark, testing first-year netminder Annabelle Jones (Homer, N.Y.) with a shot from the left circle.
Drawing a pair of penalties midway through the opening period, Middlebury took advantage of an early man-up advantage, when senior Grace Waters (Snyder, N.Y.) tapped home a rebound off a shot from the point to stake the Panthers to a 1-0 edge with 11:03 remaining.
Moments later, Amherst junior forward Megan Doyen nearly knotted the score, causing a turnover in the Middlebury zone before firing a backhanded shot into the right side of the Panther cage.
Continuing to go on the offensive with time winding down in the first, Lloyd caused another Panther turnover before sending a shot toward Jones from the left side. Moving into the zone, Doyen redirected the wrist shot in front, tucking her second goal of the season just inside the right post.
Looking to carry their momentum into the second, Amherst pulled ahead midway through the frame netting their second tally of the evening at 9:42. Skating toward right corner, senior Josie Fisher fed a pass in front, finding the stick of a charging Swiontkowski, who hammered home her team-high eighth goal of the year to put the Jeffs on top.
On a power play with just under four minutes left in the second, Lloyd padded the Amherst lead, lifting a hard wrist shot from the right side over Jones’ left shoulder to stake the Purple and White to a 3-1 edge.
Trying to keep pace, Woodward raced into the Amherst zone in the opening moments of the final period before rattling a quick shot off the right post, narrowly missing a chance to pull the Panthers within one.
Still trailing with under five minutes to play, Emily Fluke made it a one-goal game, sliding a pass from the right post across the face of the goal to an open Melberg, who tipped in her fifth score of the year to suddenly make it 3-2.
Drawing a penalty in the waning moments of regulation, the Panthers pulled Jones to get two extra skaters onto the ice, but the Lord Jeff defense held steady until a Middlebury roughing penalty with just 15 ticks left negated the visitors’ advantage.
Amherst finished with a 24-18 edge in shots, with both teams going 1-for-4 on the power play. Murphy made 16 saves en route to her fifth victory, while Jones, who entered the game as the nation’s leader in both save percentage and goals-against average, made 21 stops, falling to 4-0-2 on the year.
Middlebury jumped out to a 2-0 lead and sophomore Jennifer Krakower (Montreal, Que.) scored what held up as the game winner as the Panthers earned a 3-2 win over Amherst in game two.
Middlebury had been 8-for-43 (.186) on the power play in its past 10 meetings with Amherst, but the Panthers were 2-for-3 on extra-skater opportunities this time around. The Jeffs also scored twice on the power play and held a slim 23-22 advantage in shots.
Junior Molly Downey (E. Sandwich, Mass.) and Melberg each added a goal for Middlebury, while juniors Madison Styrbicki (Edina, Minn.) and Lauren Greer (N. Hampton, N.H.) finished with two assists apiece. Geneva Lloyd accounted for both of Amherst’s goals and bumped her point streak to five games, with Ashley Salerno recording a pair of assists.
The Panthers capitalized on the game’s first penalty when Downey recorded her second power-play goal of the season 11:02 into the opening period. Middlebury was denied twice by goaltender Sinead Murphy, but Downey finally pushed home a rebound to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.
Melberg scored her second goal in as many days when she beat Murphy stick-side with 2:29 to play in the first period. Amherst would hit the post immediately after the ensuing face-off, but the Panthers carried their 2-0 lead into the first intermission.
Amherst got one back 10:55 into the second period when Lloyd scored her fifth goal of the season. With the Jeffs on the power play, Lloyd had no angle on the Middlebury net but was able to fire the puck off the back heel of Jones, sneaking a shot inside the post to make it a 2-1 game.
The Panthers began the third period with a fresh power play to work with, and they needed only 50 seconds to push their lead to 3-1. Krakower’s third goal of the season proved to be the difference maker, with Greer and Styrbicki recording assists on the play.
The Jeffs responded less than four minutes later when Lloyd scored her second goal of the afternoon. With Amherst again on the power play, Josie Fisher dug the puck out of a scrum along the boards and found Salerno at the blue line. Salerno delivered a pass to Lloyd, who quickly turned and fired a bullet that beat Jones 4:04 into the frame.
Lloyd nearly tied the game in the final minute when she went coast-to-coast and hit the side of the net, and Middlebury followed by hitting the post on a shot that went the length of the ice on an empty-net opportunity. Amherst made one last push, but Lloyd was denied by Jones and the Panthers held on for the 3-2 win.
Jones finished with 21 saves and improved to 5-1-2 on the season, while Murphy stopped 19 shots for Amherst and dropped to 5-2-0.
After splitting the regular-season series, Amherst and Middlebury moved back into a tie for first place in the conference standings. History indicates that the Jeffs and Panthers may see each other again this season, as they have squared off in three of the past five NESCAC title games.
• Women’s hockey record: 9-1-2
• Up next: 1/20 vs. Bowdoin 7:00, 1/21 vs. Bowdoin – 3:00