Women's Hockey Earns NCAA Bid - Panthers Headed To Norwich

March 4, 2013

The Middlebury College women’s hockey team will make its 11th NCAA Tournament appearance when they travel to Norwich for a quarterfinal game on Saturday, March 9th at 3:00 p.m. The Panthers earned an at-large bid to the tournament after falling in the NESCAC Championship game on Sunday.

Middlebury is making its 11th NCAA Tournament appearance, having previously qualified from (’02-’10, ‘12). The Panthers have won more tournament games (14-7) than any other school in Division III history and are tied for first with a .667 winning percentage in NCAA games. Middlebury won three straight titles from ’04-’06, advancing to the finals in ’07. Prior to the NCAA Tournament, Middlebury captured the ’00 and ’01 AWCHA National Championship tournaments.  Middlebury earned its way into the tournament with an at-large bid after falling in the NESCAC Championship game to Bowdoin.

Middlebury has amassed an amazing 389-71-27 (.826) record over the past 18 seasons. The Panthers have boasted some impressive streaks in that time, including a 136-game Division III unbeaten streak (ended 1/26/01 with loss at Manhattanville) and an 85-game home winning streak (ended 3/1/02 with loss to Williams).

Middlebury is among the nation’s leaders in many categories, including scoring offense (3.26-11th), scoring defense (1.70-3rd), power play (.242-5th) and penalty kill (.859-16th). The team paces the NESCAC in power play percentage, while ranking second in penalty kill percentage and offense and third in team defense.

The Middlebury offense is led by Hannah Bielawski, who is sixth in the nation and first in the NESCAC with .78 assists/game. The sophomore also owns nine goals and 30 points, with her 1.11 points/game placing her in a first place tie among her NESCAC colleagues. Sophomore Emily Fluke leads the team with 16 goals to go along with 12 assists for 28 points this season, tying her for fourth in the league with 1.04 points/game. Her .59 goals/contest place her second in the NESCAC. Sophomore Katie Sullivan (10-12-22), senior Lauren Greer (10-8-18), junior Jennifer Krakower (3-15-18) and junior Madeline Joyce (7-10-17) round out the team’s leading scorers.

Defensively, Madison Styrbicki (3-13-16) is a four-time All-NESCAC selection. The senior, along with her fellow captain and classmate Heather Marrison (5-9-14) will anchor the blue line.

In goal, Annabelle Jones has started the last four games for the Panthers. The senior has a 10-3-2 record with a 1.40 GAA (7th nationally/2nd in NESCAC) and a .942 save percentage (6th nationally, 4th in NESCAC). Junior Laura Pinsent has started 10 games, owning a 6-4 mark with a 2.35 GAA and an .897 SV%.

Head Coach Bill Mandigo is now in his 25th season at the helm of the Panthers. He has a career record of 469 wins, 121 losses, and 29 ties, giving him more wins than any other coach in any division in the history of women’s college hockey. After leading his team to its first ECAC Championship in '96, Mandigo was named the ECAC Coach of the Year. In 2001, Mandigo was again honored as the ECAC Coach of the Year, as well as the AHCA National Coach of the Year. In ’01, ’04 and '05, Mandigo was named the AHCA National Coach of the Year. Since then, he’s led the team to five more ECAC titles, five national titles and four NESCAC crowns. He was recently named the NESCAC Coach of the Year for the second time.

Middlebury and Norwich have met four times, with the Cadets owning a 3-0-1 mark. The teams battled to a 2-2 tie in ’10, Norwich earned a 3-2 win in ’11, with a 5-3 victory to follow in ’12. Back on February 12th, the Cadets picked up a 5-3 win over the Panthers in Kenyon Arena.

2013 NCAA Division III Women’s Hockey Tournament
Quarterfinals, Saturday, March 9th
St. Norbert (18-9-2) @ Plattsburgh (25-0-2)
Middlebury (18-7-2) @ Norwich (22-3-3) – 3:00 p.m.
Elmira (21-5-1) @ Bowdoin (21-4-2)
Wisconsin-River Falls (21-6-2) @ Gustavus Adolphus (26-0-1)

Semifinals, Friday, March 15th – Wisconsin-Superior – Wessman Arena
St. Norbert/Plattsburgh winner vs. Middlebury/Norwich winner
Elmira/Bowdoin winner vs. UWRF/Gustavus Adolphus winner

Championship, Saturday, March 16th – Wisconsin Superior – Wessman Arena
Third-Place game
NCAA Championship