Women's Hockey Rolls Over Hamilton

November 29, 2008

Grace Waters and Erika Nakamura scored two goals apiece to lead Middlebury to an 8-2 victory against host Hamilton in a NESCAC women's hockey contest at Russell Sage Rink.

Molly Vitt was credited with three assists for the winners, while Maggie Melberg and Julia Ireland chipped in one goal and one assist apiece. Lani Wright made 22 saves for the Panthers (3-0-1 overall, 2-0-0 NESCAC).

Christie Sharlow and Kathryn Kroleski posted one goal and one assist apiece for Hamilton, which suffered its first loss this season after opening with three straight wins. Meg Shine stopped 29 shots.

Middlebury enjoyed a huge advantage on special teams. The Panthers were 4-for-11 on the power play and killed all five of the Continentals' opportunities.

Hamilton scored the first goal at 10:01 of the first period on a one-timer from between the circles by Sharlow. Stephanie Miguel started the play from behind the net and passed to Kroleski, who was a few feet to the left of the goal.

Middlebury responded with its first power play goal at 13:57 of the first. Nakamura scored the goal on a long slap shot from left of the left circle. The goalie Wright picked up an assist. Nakamura then gave the Panthers the lead for good 19 seconds later after she picked up a turnover at center ice and scored on a breakaway. Middlebury went up 3-1 on its second power-play goal with 3:07 left in the opening period. Ireland took a pass from Vitt, who was set up in the right circle, and one-timed a shot from the slot into the back of the net.

The Panthers made the score 4-1 at 9:30 of the second period. Waters picked up the goal just nine seconds into another power play. The Continentals cut their deficit in half at 11:11 of the period when Kroleski picked up a rebound in front after Wright made a nice save and lifted the puck over the diving goalie.

Corey Cooper restored the three-goal cushion for Middlebury with 7:08 left in the second when she took advantage of a Hamilton turnover. Shine came out to play the puck and threw it to the boards on the right side. Cooper reached it first and wristed a shot into the net before Shine could recover.

Waters clinched the win at 5:42 of the third period with her second goal of the day. Ireland fired a backhand shot on Shine, who made the save, but the puck bounced to Waters and she poked it into the net. The goal came just three seconds after another penalty expired.

The Panthers sealed the victory with two goals in the final 74 seconds. Middlebury has won all 23 meetings with the Continentals since 1996-97.