Women's Hockey Holds Off Bowdoin

November 28, 2009

Ashley Bairos scored the game-winning goal in the third period to lift third-ranked Middlebury to a 4-3 victory over Bowdoin on Saturday evening. The Panthers improve to 3-0-0 (3-0-0 NESCAC) while the Polar Bears fall to 1-2-0 (0-1-0 NESCAC).

Middlebury peppered the Bowdoin net with 15 shots in the opening period, but scored on a pair of seemingly accidental goals. The Panthers' first score came off the stick of Maggie Melberg, who attempted to cross the puck from behind the net, but deflected it off the back of the Bowdoin goaltender Sage Santangelo and into the cage for a 1-0 lead just 4:32 into the contest. Minutes later, the Panthers dumped the puck into the zone, where it took a bizarre carom off the corner boards and deflected off a Bowdoin defender and inside the right post. Julie Ireland was credited with the score, which gave Middlebury a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes.

Bowdoin bounced back in the second period, scoring twice on three shots. After winning a faceoff in the neutral zone, Kayte Holtz skated into the Middlebury zone on the right wing and centered the puck to Jill Campbell, who slipped it between the pads of goaltender Alexi Bloom at 12:17. Ireland momentarily regained the two-goal edge for the Panthers, backhanding a goal past Bowdoin's Kayla Lessard at 14:57. The Polar Bears rebounded less than a minute later, as Chelsea Young found Kim Tess-Wanat in front for a top-shelf tally to make it 3-2 Middlebury after two periods.

Bowdoin was able to tie the game just 2:18 into the final period when Holtz fed Alexandra Chlebeck with a perfect crossing pass to deadlock the contest. Melberg set up the game-winning tally for Bairos, cycling behind the net and finding her teammate just outside the crease for a one-timer at 6:52. Bowdoin's best chance to tie came with under five minutes to play when a drive from the blue line was tipped in front by Katie Herter and saved by Bloom, who also blocked the rebound on the doorstep to maintain the one-goal advantage.

Bloom finished with 16 saves in Middlebury's 11th-straight win over the Polar Bears. Santangelo stopped 13 shots and allowed two goals in 20 minutes before being relieved by Lessard, who stopped 13 shots and allowed two scores over the final two frames.