BRUNSWICK, Maine — Bowdoin advanced to the NCAA semfinals by defeating Middlebury for the first time since the 1993-94 season, 2-1 on Tuesday night. The Polar Bears had fallen to the Panthers twice already this season.
The win came in the first-ever NCAA hockey game held at Bowdoin’s historic Dayton Arena. Bowdoin advances to face Manhattanville in the semifinals on Friday at 4 p.m., while Middlebury’s streak of two straight National Championships comes to an end.
Middlebury controlled the pace of play early, firing off the first three shots of the game. The first great scoring opportunity came at the hands of Middlebury’s Meghan Stone about 12 minutes in. Stone broke in all alone, but Bowdoin’s Emily McKissock made a sprawling save to keep the game scoreless.
Just minutes later, Amber Neil had a breakaway of her own, but McKissock rose to the challenge again with a kick save as the game stayed tied. The Polar Bears had numerous chances of their own, including one by Shelly Chessie in front with less than a minute remaining in the period, but the first period ended scoreless with the Panthers holding a 7-6 edge in shots.
The Polar Bears got a break early in the second as Audrey Pellerin was charged with tripping at 1:44. After the Panthers killed the power play, Carrie Simonds managed to break into the open for Bowdoin. Middlebury’s Megan Hutchinson made a beautiful kick save to keep the contest tied.
The Polar Bears kept up the pressure in the offensive zone and controlled the pace of play for the first half of the period, before Kate Duglin was called for body checking at 9:46, putting Middlebury on the power play. Bowdoin killed the advantage, however, without allowing a shot on net.
The Polar Bears broke into the scoring column at 17:42 when Marissa O’Neil found Chessie at the top of the circle. Chessie skated in and fired a wrister, beating Hutchinson glove-side for a 1-0 lead.
The third period opened with a penalty against the Bowdoin bench for too many players at 1:11. The best chance of the power play, though, was by Bowdoin’s Chessie, who intercepted a pass and broke in all by herself. Hutchinson made a nifty glove save, keeping it a one-goal contest.
Six minutes into the period, Erin Neil skated into the offensive zone on a breakaway, but McKissock made a kick save to maintain the lead for Bowdoin. At 7:47, Middlebury went on the advantage again on a penalty against O’Neil for tripping. The Polar Bears killed the penalty as McKissock made four stops, including one off her mask.
Bowdoin increased the lead to 2-0 at 14:05 when Britney Carr took a pass from Chessie and backhanded it in. The Panthers cut the lead to 2-1 at 17:06 when Laurie Richmond beat McKissock with a wrist shot.
After pulling McKissock, the Panthers posted a late flurry, but McKissock proved up to the challenge, making several saves in the closing seconds to preserve the win.