A great season for the Middlebury Panthers women's ice hockey team concluded on a positive note after a bitter disappointment. The panthers were eliminated on Friday when they were defeated on their home ice in the NCAA semifinals by the Amherst Jeffs 3-2. They bounced back on Saturday to win the National consolation game, defeating Wisconsin-River Falls 3-2 in overtime. Amherst went on to win the Division III title by defeating Elmira 4-3 in overtime in the championship game.
In their semifinal match against Amherst the top seeded Panthers were coming off an overtime win against Amherst two weeks earlier in the NESCAC Championship game. That win avenged to regular season shutouts put on Middlebury by the Jeffs. The Jeffs however took advantage of two first period power play opportunities and got shorthanded goals from Julia Koch and Tarasai Karega to take a 2-0 lead through one. They increased that lead to 3-0 in the second period on yet another power play, this time Molly Vitt provided the score.
The Panthers would get one back before the end of the second when Megan Curry scored her seventh goal of the year. Annmarie Cellino then put the Panthers in position to come from behind by pulling them within one goal when she scored with just seven and a half minutes left to play. Both of the Panther's goals came on power play opportunities as well. But Middlebury wouldn't get the tie breaker and the Jeff's hung on to claim the 3-2 win. Panther goalie Alexi Bloom stopped 15 shots while Krystyn Elek made 17 saves for the victorious Jeffs.
Saturday's consolation game against Wisconsin-River Falls resembled the semifinal contest in that all four regulation time goals came again on power play opportunities. Wisconsin-River Falls took advantage of two of their seven chances, while the Panthers capitalized on two of their six opportunities. The final one came in the third period with 13:55 left and Wisconsin-River Falls ahead 2-1. That is when Vitt, after being set up by Cellino and Heather McCormack, scored her 12th goal of the year, tying the game at 2-2 and sending it into sudden death overtime. It was just under five minutes into the first overtime that Grace Waters, with an assist from Heidi Woodworth and Marjie Billings, scored the weekends only even strength goal, and giving the Panthers the third place trophy with a 3-2 win. Lani Wright made 22 stops for Middlebury who finished the year at 20-4-4. WRF got 25 saves from their goalie Melissa Deardorff, and win their back-to-back defeats at the frozen four they finish 20-7-3.
Panthers Open With Three Out Of Four in Arizona
The Middlebury Panthers mens baseball season opened their 2009 season with a pair of double headers last Friday and Saturday in Phoenix, Arizona. On Friday night they split with Pomona-Beach, winning the first game 7-4, before falling 11-6 in the night cap. They followed that by sweeping Colby College in two slug fests 15-14 and 16-11. As of this papers deadline no statistics were available for any of these games, but continue to read the Eagle for updated progress on the Panthers season.