Women's Hockey Wins NESCAC Championship
March 6, 2005
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.