Women's Hockey Wins Second NCAA Championship

March 18, 2005

3/19/05 - The Middlebury College women's hockey team scored three third period goals to rally from a 2-1 deficit and defeat host Elmira College 4-3 for its second consecutive NCAA Division III National Championship. Junior forward Emily Quizon was the  catalyst for the Panthers comeback as she scored two of the team's three third period goals.  Middlebury became the first non-host team in the four-year history of the NCAA Division III tournament to win the title.

The host Eagles got on the board first when Charissa Gawant scored on a wrap-around at 7:06 of the first period.  Middlebury nearly tied the score a couple of minutes later when Tory MacNeil had a wide open shot right in front of the net, however Elmira's Edith Racine blocked the puck with her chest and held on for the face-off.  Later in the period, Middlebury had several opportunities on the power play but Racine again came up with two big saves to keep the Panthers off the scoreboard.  Elmira took a 1-0 lead into the locker room even though Middlebury held a 10-5 advantage in shots.

Middlebury wasted no time knotting the score at 1-1 when Emily McNamara lit the lamp on a wild scramble in front of the net just :52 seconds into the second period.  The game settled down for most of the second period with neither team putting together any significant scoring opportunities.  However, Elmira surged back into the lead when Laura Hurd raced down the right side of the rink, cut aggressively across the middle of the ice and slipped a backhand past Panther goaltender Kate Kogut at the 16:59 mark. The Soaring Eagles killed off a couple of Middlebury power play opportunities late in the period and held a 2-1 lead at the end of the second period.

In a replay of the second period, Middlebury struck back quickly as Emily Quizon scored a power play goal from a very sharp angle less than one minute into the final frame.  The Panthers really picked up the pace the next six minutes of the contest.  Gloria Velez gave Middlebury the lead for good with a goal off a deflection at the 6:20 mark.  Velez had been denied off a strong slapshot just :20 seconds earlier and then picked up a deflected shot off the skate of an Elmira player and beat Racine to the glove side.

Middlebury kept attacking and scored what would turn out to be the game-winner just :90 seconds later when Emily Quizon broke free up the left side of the ice and sent a hard shot just inside the left post and past the outstretched pad of Racine to make the score 4-2.

Elmira immediately called a timeout to break the Panthers run and came out of the break determined to get back into the game.  Charissa Gawant cut the Middlebury lead to 4-3 with a goal at the 14:59 mark.  It was Gawant's second goal of the game.  The Eagles were whistled for a penalty at the 16:29 mark giving Middlebury their fifth power play opportunity of the game.  Elmira managed to kill the penalty and then pulled goaltender Edith Racine for one last chance to tie the game.  The Eagles just about pulled the rabbit out of the hat with :25 left to play when Laura Hurd let fly with a slapshot from the left circle that just missed an open net created when Kate Kogut had slipped on a scramble in front of the net.  The Panthers managed to carry the puck out of their own zone and eat up the final :20 seconds before rushing the ice to celebrate their national title.

Middlebury became just the third team in the history of the women's Division III tournament to win on the road and the first in the championship game.  The Panthers finish with a record of 26-3-1, while Elmira wraps up its season with a mark of 24-4-0.

-courtesy Gustavus-