BRUNSWICK, ME — The tidal wave that is Middlebury (17-0, 11-0 NESCAC) swept through Dayton Arena this afternoon as six different Panthers exploded in defeating Bowdoin (10-6, 8-3 NESCAC) 9-1 on the Polar Bears’ home ice.
Recent seasons have seen Bowdoin compile a respectable 5-6-2 mark against Middlebury, but today’s game completed the first regular season sweep by either team since the founding of NESCAC women’s hockey in 2001-02. Middlebury took the first meeting by a 4-2 score.
“We play 18 people regularly, we expect them to be able to perform, it’s the way we practice, they compete against each other,” said Middlebury coach Bill Mandigo.
Middlebury used a relentless forecheck to force Bowdoin turnovers and get in close to Bowdoin’s freshman goalie Emileigh Mercer and build a four-goal first period lead.
“I thought we played very well in the 1st period, we moved the puck and we did a good job getting the puck to the net,” Mandigo said.
The second period saw numerous Bowdoin chances turned aside by Middlebury senior goalie Kate Kogut. While she made 30 saves, Kogut forced opponents to make the perfect shot, and many of Bowdoin’s best scoring chances were just off the mark.
“Kate Kogut is the mainstay… she’s the reason we’re able to do the things we do offensively, to attack the offensive zone,” Mandigo said. “We expect her to step up and make the big save. We’re going to give up the odd man rush, but she’s an unbelievable competitor.”
“They came out strong and had some great opportunities… believe it or not, although it takes forever to get here, we love playing in this rink… it feels so good to beat them in their home rink,” Kogut said.
Middlebury lengthened its lead to 6-0 as Annmarie Cellino scored the afternoon’s prettiest goal, taking a pass in the slot with her back to the crease, and a Bowdoin defender leaning on her, and slipping a backhand five-hole into the net.
Following a pair of Emily Quizon goals the score grew to 8-0, and Bowdoin took a timeout. Bowdoin Coach Michele Amidon removed her goalie for an extra attacker with about 4 minutes remaining and Katie Forney finally managed to get one past Kogut from just outside the crease to the goalie’s stickside.
The Panthers have seven regular season games separating them from a perfect season. First they face No. 3 Gustavus Adolphus in Middlebury on Feb. 3 before traveling to Plattsburgh on Feb. 8.