Women's Hockey Set To Host NESCAC Championship Weekend

February 25, 2013

The Middlebury women's hockey team will host the 2013 NESCAC Championship in Kenyon Arena. The Panthers will take on Connecticut College, Saturday, March 2nd at 1:00 p.m., followed by Amherst vs. Bowdoin at 4:00 p.m. The winners meet in the title game on Sunday at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are priced at $5 for adults, $3 for students and are on sale now. You may also call 802-443-6433 or stop by the McCullough or Mahaney box offices during normal business hours. Tickets will also be available at the door.

With a 6-0 shutout over Colby in the quarterfinals, Middlebury (17-6-2, 12-2-2) upped its NESCAC championship mark to 22-5. In the 11 year history of the NESCAC Championship, Middlebury has reached the final eight times. Last year, they pulled out a dramatic 1-0 overtime triumph over Amherst to secure their seventh conference title. Prior to that, Middlebury found the winner’s circle in 2001, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2009 and 2011. Their two conference losses this year came at the hands of semifinalists Bowdoin and Connecticut College, while they tied Amherst and Trinity once each in NESCAC play.

The Panthers are led by a sophomores Emily Fluke (Sandwich, Mass.) and Hannah Bielawski (Evanston, Ill.), who each have 27 points on the season. Fluke’s 15 goals are tied for second best in the league, while Bielawski is tied for first with 18 assists. Junior Jennifer Krakower (Montreal, Que.) has 14 assists this season, while her 17 points are third best for defensemen scoring among league competition. Sophomore Annabelle Jones (Homer, N.Y.) has logged a 1.39 GAA, while junior Laura Pinsent (Labrador City, Newfoundland) boasts a 2.35 GAA.

Middlebury will face Connecticut College (14-10-1, 7-8-1), which they have a 1-0 advantage over in their only championship meeting. In a 2004 quarterfinal matchup, Middlebury defeated the Camels, 6-0. Connecticut College enters the semifinals as the fifth seed, after knocking off a fourth seeded Trinity team with a dramatic 1-0 quarterfinal win. The Camels split with Middlebury, earning a 3-2 win on February 2, before dropping their February 3 contest 4-0 in New London. Sophomore Kelsie Fralick (West Chester, Pa.)  has a 1.46 goals against average to go along with a .951 save percentage. Senior Ariel DiPasquale (Whitestone, N.Y. ) has 15 points, while classmate Sam Schoeneberger (Vernon, Conn.) has 14 points. Junior Courtney Dumont (Yarmouth, Maine) and DiPasquale each have a team-best nine goals.

Connecticut College is now 2-7 in NESCAC championship play, with their only other win coming in the 2009 quarterfinals, a 2-1 triumph over Trinity. In their only semifinal appearance, they fell, 6-1, to Amherst.

The other semifinal battle features second seeded Bowdoin and third seeded Amherst. The Polar Bears defeated seventh seeded Williams, 5-3, in the quarterfinals and are looking to make it back to the championship game for the first time since 2006. Bowdoin has two NESCAC titles to its credit, winning the conference crown in 2002 and 2004 and playing in five straight championship games from 2002-2006. Led by four of the league’s top point producers, Bowdoin (19-4-2, 12-3-1 NESCAC) is led offensively by first year Rachel Kennedy (Trumbull, Conn.), who has 29 points off of 15 points and 14 assists. Senior Kayte Holtz (New Berlin, Wis.), sophomore Chelsea MacNeill (Moncton, N.B.), and senior Kim Tess-Wanat (Fond du Lac, Wis.) have combined for over 70 points and helped the Polar Bears to a 14 game unbeaten streak during the year. Bowdoin locked up the second seed with a pair of victories at Amherst to close the regular season. Amherst leads the championship series with a 4-1 mark, last taking a 1-0 win in the 2012 semifinals.

Third seeded Amherst (12-10-1, 10-5-1 NESCAC) has emerged as one of the premier teams in the conference in recent years, advancing to the finals six straight times. The Jeffs’ incredible run has included three conference championships (2007, 2008, 2010) and a pair of national titles (2008, 2009). Despite their recent success, they have come up just short against Middlebury in each of the last two NESCAC title games. In addition to their 1-0 overtime setback lin last year’s championship, they fell 4-3 in 2011. The Jeffs defeated sixth seeded Hamilton, 5-1, in the quarterfinals. Senior Geneva Lloyd (Calgary, Alberta) leads the Amherst offense with 27 points, while sophomore Tori Salmon (Batavia, N.Y.) has 25 points. Senior Megan Doyen (Ortonville, Mich.) has 18 points, tying Llyod for a team-best 13 goals. Doyen leads the NESCAC with nine power play goals, while Lloyd’s 13 goals and 14 assists are best among NESCAC defensemen.

2013 NESCAC Women’s Ice Hockey Championship
Quarterfinals - Saturday, February 23
#1 Middlebury def. #8 Colby, 6-0
#2 Bowdoin def. #Williams, 5-3
#3 Amherst def. #6 Hamilton, 5-1
#5 Conn. College def. #4 Trinity, 1-0

Semifinals - Saturday, March 2 - hosted by Middlebury
#5 Conn. College at #1 Middlebury - 1:00 pm
#3 Amherst vs. #2 Bowdoin - 4:00 pm

Championship - Sunday, March 3 - hosted by Middlebury
Semifinal Winners - 2:00 p.m.

--courtesy NESCAC--