Women's Hockey Wins NESCAC Championship
March 6, 2011
Middlebury won its sixth NESCAC Championship as the Panthers (21-4-1) held off a late flurry by Amherst to pick up a 4-3 win in the title game played in Kenyon Arena. The Panthers receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament and will learn their fate when the selections are announced on Monday. The Jeffs fall to 19-6-2 with the loss and will hope for an at-large bid.
Middlebury took a 1-0 lead 4:27 into the game with a power play goal. Madeline Joyce netted her fifth of the season, finishing off a flurry of shots in front.
The Panthers were awarded a penalty shot at the 3 :34 mark of the second period, after a delay of game penalty on the Jeffs. Maggie Melberg took the shot and was denied by Caroline Hu with a pad save on her backhander. Amherst tied the game at 1-1 at the 9:01 mark with a power play tally of their own. Geneva Lloyd made a nice pass from behind the net to Ellen Swiontkowski in front, for her 10th of the year.
Middlebury scored three goals in a 5:04 span in the second period to take a commanding 4-1 advantage. Maggie Melberg won a face-off back to Heather Marrison at the left point, with her shot getting past a screened Hu for the 2-1 lead at 13:58. Sara Ugalde intercepted a pass and scored from the right side with a wrister into the top left corner of the net for her 12th of the season. Joyce found a cutting Maggie Woodward, who scored her fifth of the season from her knees to make it a 4-1 game with 58 seconds left in the second.
Amherst made it a two-goal game at 11:38 of the third, when Stephanie Clegg scored from the left face-off dot. The Jeffs cut the lead to 4-3 with 4:10 remaining, as Lloyd scored on her third attempt after her first two shots were denied by Alexi Bloom on the power play. Amherst kept coming with pressure, going on a power play with just 56 seconds left to play. The Jeffs pulled Hu moments later, looking for a six-on-four goal to tie the game. Middlebury held strong, giving up just one shot on goal late as the Panthers held on for the victory.
Amherst held a slight 25-24 shots advantage in the game, with Bloom making 22 saves and Hu stopping 20.