Women's Hockey Headed To NESCAC Title Game

March 7, 2009

Middlebury has advanced to the NESCAC Championship game for the sixth time, defeating Colby 4-2 at Amherst. The Panthers will take Amherst for the NESCAC Championship on Sunday at 2:00 p.m. Middlebury outshot Colby 61-20 on the afternoon.

The first period was dominated by the Panthers, who out-shot the White Mules by a 33-13 edge. Despite the high number of shots, Middlebury held just a 13-7 edge in shots on goal. The only goal of the first period came just before the mid-point of the frame, as Annmarie Cellino found herself wide open in the slot for a slap shot into an empty net. Colby netminder Lacey Brown made a pair of saves that drew her out to the right of the crease, before a final rebound gave Cellino an open net to bang home. Assists on the game's opening score were awarded to Grace Waters ) and Anna McNally.

Colby came out of the first intermission with a renewed fire, and found an equalizer just 3:05 into the frame. The White Mules score came off the stick of Andrea Fuwa, with an assist coming from Laura Anning. Fuwa's score was on a deep slap shot through traffic from straight away.

The top-ranked Middlebury offense was awaken by the Colby score, and immediately put heavy pressure on Brown. After a few close calls, the Panthers regained the lead on a score with 13 minutes to play. Off a nice feed from Randi Dumont, Heidi Woodworth skated through the slot for a top-shelve score to put Middlebury up 2-1.

The Panthers needed only five more minutes before opening up a 3-1 lead, this time on a score from Haley MacKeen. After a pair of saves by Brown, the puck was sitting in the crease just inches off the goal line for MacKeen to dive over the Colby goaltender and poke in.

After the early goal from Colby, Middlebury took control of the remainder of the second period, and after two stanzas held a dominating 40-14 edge in shots on goal. The third period started with more of the same from the Panthers, as they opened up a 4-1 margin with 12:27 to play in regulation. Ashley Bairos scored the goal this time, with helpers going to Andrea Buono and Heather McCormack.

Colby grabbed a score back with 6:21 to play in the third period shortly after coming off a 5-on-3 power play. The White Mules scored with just seconds left on one of the power-plays to cut the deficit to 4-2. The Colby goal was put home by Anning, on a feed from Colette Finley.

Neither team scored another goal, as Middlebury closed out a 4-2 win to advance to their sixth NESCAC Championship game since 2003. Alexi Bloom finished with 18 saves in net for Middlebury, while Brown made an amazing 57 saves in the loss for Colby. The White Mules end their season with a 12-11-3 mark, while the Panthers improve to 18-3-4 with the win.