Hartford, Conn. - The Trinity College women's ice hockey team, which finished the 2019-20 regular season with an 8-12-4 record and finished in eighth place in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) with a 3-11-2 league mark, has qualified for the league championship tournament for the 14th time and will visit top-seeded Middlebury College (19-2-3, 14-1-1) on Saturday, February 29 at 1 p.m. in the NESCAC Quarterfinals. The Bantams, seeded No. 8 in the tournament for the first time, are playing the Panthers for the sixth time in the conference tourney while seeking their seventh semifinal appearance and second conference title overall. Coached by Keith Maurice (5th Season), Trinity won the NESCAC Championship in 2015 and enters the tournament having won three of its last four games. The winner of the NESCAC Championship Tournament will determine the league's automatic qualifier for the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament. No. 2-seeded Colby (14-5-5, 9-3-4) hosts No. 7-seeded Bowdoin (8-13-3, 4-11-1), No. 3-seeded Amherst (14-5-5, 8-4-4) hosts No. 6-seeded Connecticut College (13-7-4, 6-6-4) and No. 4-seeded Hamilton (15-8-1, 9-6-1) hosts No. 5-seeded Williams (12-8-4, 8-6-2) in the other quarterfinal games Saturday.
Trinity features a deep and experienced defense, led by senior captain Alex Sinson (Elm Grove, Wisc.) and junior and 2019 All-NESCAC honoree Camille von Steinbergs (Minnetonka, Minn.). Sinson, von Steinbergs, senior Taylor Foy (Highlands Ranch, Colo.), junior Julia Lee (Ferguson's Cove, Nova Scotia), sophomore Bergen Kobienia (Edina, Minn.), and first-year Claudia Capone (Foxboro, Mass.) have combined to miss just two games among all six of them and allowed only 666 shots-on-goal. Senior Kai-Lilly Karpman (Playa del Ray, Calif.), who has 438 saves for a .914 save percentage and a 2.30 GAA, has allowed just seven goals in five starts over the last two weeks. Junior forward and 2019 All-NESCAC selection Sierra Lee (Ferguson's Cove, Nova Scotia) leads the Trinity offense with 22 points on four goals and league-best 18 assists. Von Steinbergs, sophomore forward Ellie Fellows (Westport, Mass.) and rookie forward Ethel Wilhelmsson (Stockholm, Sweden) are all tied for the team lead in goals with seven apiece, while von Steinbergs, third among NESCAC defenders in scoring with 13 points (7g, 6a) and Fellows have combined for seven power-play tallies.
Middlebury, coached by Bill Mandigo (32nd season), has appeared in every NESCAC Championship and hosted a quarterfinal every year. The Panthers own a 3-2 edge over the Bantams, including a 3-2 overtime loss at home in the 2015 finals. Trinity has qualified for the NESCAC Championship for the 13th time in 14 years and is making its second straight appearance. Middlebury and Trinity recently played on February 8 and 9, with the Panthers coming away with a pair of home victories, 4-1, and, 1-0. Junior forward Madie Leidt leads the Panthers in scoring with 16 goals and 15 assists for 31 points, while senior goalie Lin Han has a 0.79 GAA and a .961 save percentage between the Amherst pipes.