Hartford, Conn. - After entering the third period tied at 1-1, the No. 5-ranked Middlebury College Panthers scored three times in the third period to run away with a 4-1 victory over the Trinity College Bantams in New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) women's hockey action at the Koeppel Center in Hartford on opening night. Both teams will square off again tomorrow at 4 p.m. for the weekend series finale.
Both sides entered the first intermission locked in a scoreless battle after combining for just nine total shots in the first 20 minutes of play. The Panthers won the shot battle, 38-14, but it was the hosts who broke the game open with the first goal of the game, coming at the 6:09 mark in the second period. After missing all of last year due to injury, rookie Katie Marsden (Hessle, England) played the catalyst, pressuring Middlebury goalie Lin Han (Toronto, Ontario) to create a scrum in front of the net. Junior Olivia White (Oakville, Ontario) came up with the loose puck and stuffed it past Han and into the back of the net to give Trinity a 1-0 lead.
Middlebury responded with just over seven minutes left in the second frame on a similar play at the opposite end of the ice. Meghan Keating (Wilton, Conn.) scored the Panthers' first goal of the season after forcing the puck between the glove of Bantam junior netminder Kai-Lilly Karpman (Playa Del Ray, Calif.) and the near-side post. Alexis Ryan (Mesa, Ariz.) was credited with the assist on the play. Middlebury nearly added to its lead when a shot by Katarina Shuchuk (Madison, Wis.) looked destined for the back of the net, however Karpman sprawled across the crease, falling on her back to smother the puck and keep the game tied. Karpman finished with 34 saves on the evening.
The Panthers broke the game open in the third quarter to pull away with the 4-1 victory, thanks in part to four power play opportunities. Katie Hargrave (Westford, Mass.) scored on the power play just 5:03 into the final period before Shuchuk potted her first of the year just three minutes later. Jenna Marotta (Katy, Texas) all but iced the game when she fired a shot from just inside the blue line that snuck past Karpman to put the visitors up 4-1, which stood as the final on opening night.