College Hockey:
Middlebury Upends UWSP For Women’s D-III Title

Yale-Loehr Nets Winner For Panthers

— Middlebury won the Division III women’s championship, 2-1, over Wisconsin-Stevens Point Saturday night at Kenyon Arena.

All the scoring came in the first period with Liz Yale-Loehr’s goal at 15:32 the game-winner. She rammed home a rebound from the right crease after a shot from the left circle by Butler was saved by Amy Statz.

Middlebury celebrates its first NCAA title. (Photo: Middlebury Sports Information)

Middlebury celebrates its first NCAA title. (Photo: Middlebury Sports Information)

Stevens Point (19-8-4) took a 1-0 lead just 2:36 into the game when Jackie Schmitt made a cross-crease pass to Ashley Howe, who one-timed a quick shot into the net. Middlebury (24-4) answered 1:57 later as Jean Butler took Emily McNamara’s cross-ice pass from the corner for the one-timer.

Both teams had chances to score in the second period, but Statz and Middlebury’s Kate Kogut turned away every shot. Middlebury outshot UWSP 11-10 in the period and held a 24-12 advantage after two periods.

The third period looked much like the second, with both teams having some chances to score. Although the Pointers only mustered three shots, they were all good opportunities to tie the game. Middlebury had solid pressure late in the game, not allowing Statz to leave the net until there were only seven seconds left. Kogut ended the night with 14 saves, while Statz made 32.

“This was a great win and a great day for our program,” said Middlebury head coach Bill Mandigo. “After the first period, we kept the pressure on, but their goaltender was outstanding. They are a very disciplined and well-coached team.”

Mandigo finished his 16th season as Middlebury’s coach with a 281-81-10 career record.

“Hard work, determination and discipline are what got us here. We came together as a team,” said Butler, the team captain.

Said UWSP coach Brian Idalski: “I’m proud of our team, they played hard and to the best of their abilities. Middlebury is a very good team. They play a system we’re not used to, but we left it all out on the ice.”

When asked about the Middlebury hockey programs winning two titles in one night, Mandigo gleamed.

“What a great day for the Middlebury hockey program and Middlebury College,” he said.

Middlebury won the American Women’s College Hockey Alliance national championship in 2000 and 2001, but lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament the last two years.

This year Middlebury won all three of its NCAA game by 2-1 scores, defeating two-time champion Elmira in the quarterfinals and Plattsburgh in the semifinals.

Combined with the national championship won by the men’s hockey team on Saturday, it’s the 20th national championship for Middlebury’s athletic program since 1995.

These players were named to the All-Tournament team: Jenn Clarke (Plattsburgh), Lorna Gifis (Middlebury), Ann Ninnemann (UWSP), Jean Butler (Middlebury), Rose Babst (Middlebury) and Amy Statz (UWSP).

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