Women's Hockey Wins NESCAC Championship

March 6, 2005

3/6/05 - 

Middlebury netminder Kate Kogut stopped 34 shots, leading the Panther women's ice hockey team to their third NESCAC Championship in the past five seasons with a 5-1 win over Bowdoin on Sunday. The Panthers (23-3-1) earn the NESCAC's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, and will host Manhattanville on Friday, March 11th at 7:00 p.m. in a quarterfinal game.

The teams exchanged early power play chances as the game remained scoreless for most of the opening period. Middlebury had a great chance in the early going as sophomore Shannon Sylvester pounced on a rebound just outside the crease, but Bowdoin's Cat MacEachern made a kick save to keep the game tied. Bowdoin answered with a slapshot from the point from Lydia Hawkins that Kogut brushed aside. Moments later, MacEachern made another strong save off a Panther breakaway, as first-year player Margaret MacDonald was denied from in close. The Panthers broke the ice at 16:58 on a 5-on-3 power play when a shot from sophomore Shannon Tarrant was initially saved by McEachern. The puck bounced to the left of the goal, where Abby Kurtz-Phelan backhanded the rebound into the top left corner for a 1-0 Panther lead.

The second period opened with a great chance for the Polar Bears as Meghan Gillis skated in all alone on Kogut and snapped a backhand chance that was gloved by the Panther goaltender. Middlebury increased their lead to 2-0 at 6:30 of the second frame when Tarrant took a slapshot from the high slot that slipped under the glove of MacEachern, who was screened in front. Bowdoin broke into the scoring column on the powerplay at 12:31 of the second stanza, as a shot from the point from Kristen Cameron was deflected inside the right post by Cathie Quinlan, making it a 2-1 game. Middlebury regained a two-goal advantage just three minutes later when Velez took a shot from the right face-off circle. MacEachern stopped the Gloria Velez chance, but the rebound trickled to right of the goal and Sylvester tapped the puck over the goal line for a 3-1 Panther lead after two frames.

The Panthers added two more goals in the final period, as Kurtz-Phelan took a one-timer pass from Sylvester and fired a low shot into the back of the net at 1:26. Tory MacNeil closed out the scoring at 6:28 by finishing off a scramble in front. MacEachern finished with 31 saves for the Polar Bears, while Kogut stopped 34 for Middlebury.