Middlebury, VT-The Ephs (10-7-7, 4-6-6 NESCAC) faced off against the Middlebury Panthers (17-4-3, 13-1-2 NESCAC) for the second time this weekend and the last game of the regular season. Today's game was held on the Olympic sized sheet of ice on the MIddlebury campus. With the 3-3 tie the night before, both teams were looking for the win. The Panthers edged Williams out 4-2 for their seventeenth win of their season.
Middlebury took the early game lead with an even strength goal in the first period. The goal came at 7:46 and was scored by freshman Madie Leidt. Ledit was assisted by junior Katherine Jackson. Williams equalized the Panther's first period goal with an early second period goal. The Ephs' goal also came at full strength and was posted just seventeen seconds into the period. Freshman Gabby Montembeault was the goal scorer and was assisted by classmate Avery Dunn and sophomore Amanda Reisman.
With the scored tied at 1-1, both teams were fighting hard to score the next goal and maintain the lead. The fight didn't last long when at a minute into the second, freshman Brynn Puppe was sent to the box for roughing. Puppe's penalty gave the Panthers the advantage they needed to wash the recent Williams goal and take the lead for the second time this game. The goal came at 1:35 and was scored by senior Jessica Young, assisted by senior Janka Hlinka and freshman Madie Leidt. No more goals were scored during the second period but the third period was the game's highest scoring period.
Penalty kills are not the Eph's strong suit with a 77% kill rate in conference. Nails were being bitten when two Williams players were sent to the box just seconds from each other. Senior Candy Lu stopped play for hooking at 5:42 and junior Claire Mancheski tripped a Panthers player at 6:09. The Ephs now had a 5-on-3 predicament to deal with. But with an offensive line as good as the Panthers, the Ephs could only hold down the fort for 18 seconds before Middlebury posted another goal.
Leidt scored her second goal of the game and was assisted by Young and junior Jenna Marotta. Leidt was on fire today when just 30 seconds after her second goal of the game, she scored her hat trick. She was assisted by Young and senior Maddie Winslow. It was a series of unfortunate events that sent two Ephs into the penalty box and two pucks into the Eph net past sophomore netminder Marissa Anderson.
Another Ephs' penalty was called at 9:55. The penalty was for delay of game and resulted in a penalty shot against Anderson. Winslow of Middlebury took the shot but missed the net and the opportunity to extend their already three-goal lead.
The Ephs are not ones to quit halfway through a period no matter the score. They fought until the end and waited for their opportunity to pounce. The Panthers received their first penalty of the game at 16:41, with just a little over three minutes left in the game. Williams head coach Meghan Gillis immediately pulled Anderson from between the bars, which gave the Ephs a two-man advantage, 6-on-4. The strategy worked when seconds later, the Ephs closed the gap from 4-1 to 4-2. The goal was at 17:41 and was scored by freshman Meghan Halloran, her tenth of the season. She was assisted by Lu and Reisman.
"I thought we made some good adjustments throughout the first period and we're able to start the second strong. Penalties cost us in the third period and we weren't able to finish the comeback," Eph head coach Meghan Gillis said.
The team will continue their run next weekend with a sixth place seed in the NESCAC tournament.