Women's hockey sweeps Colby, nears No. 1 seed

WATERVILLE, Maine — The Middlebury College women’s hockey team swept a weekend series from host Colby to improve to 15-4-2 overall and 12-1-1 in NESCAC play. The Panthers clinched a tie for first place in the league in the process.

Middlebury, ranked No. 4 in NCAA Division III, close out the regular season by visiting Williams on Friday at 7 p.m. and then hosting the Ephs on Saturday at 7 p.m. A win or a tie in either of those games will give Middlebury home ice throughout the NESCAC playoffs, which will begin the following weekend.

On Saturday Middlebury erupted on offense for a 7-2 win over Colby (7-12-4, 2-9-4 NESCAC).

The Panthers took a 2-0 first-period lead on goals by Jessica Young, from Janka Hlinka on a power play, and Ellie Barney. Anna Zumwinkle made it 3-0 in the second on another power play before the Mules’ Lauren King answered with a power-play goal to set the score at 3-1 after two periods.

Madie Leidt added a power-play goal for the Panthers early into the fourth, and Katarina Shuchuk made it 5-1 with an assist from Elizabeth Wulf. The Mules scored on a power play before Hlinka and Shuchuk gave the Panthers a season-high seven goals. Panther goalie Julia Neuburger recorded 16 saves, while two Mule goalies combined for 45 saves.

On Friday the Panthers settled for a tight, 2-0 win despite outshooting the Mules by 37-15. Barney netted the game-winner in the second with the Panthers skating shorthanded. Haley LaFontaine started the play behind the Middlebury net by moving the puck up to Barney, who beat a defender along the left side and shot low into the right corner at 6:39.

Middlebury iced the game with 0.3 seconds on the clock when Sidney Portner set up LaFontaine for an empty-net goal.

Panther goalie Lin Han made 15 saves for her fifth shutout of the year, while Mule goalie Cierra San Roman stopped 35 shots.

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