MIDDLEBURY, VT. — Emily Quizon provided a pure hat trick in the first period and Annmarie Cellino compiled a hat trick over the final two to propel No. 2 Middlebury (24-2) to its second consecutive NESCAC title with a convincing 8-2 triumph over Bowdoin (17-9-1). The victory secured an automatic berth for the Panthers in the fifth annual NCAA Division III Women’s Ice Hockey Championship.
Quizon opened the scoring at 3:50 of the first period when she flipped a shot from just inside the blueline that deflected off a Bowdoin defender and over Bowdoin goalie Emileigh Mercer’s glove-side shoulder.
Quizon completed a natural hat trick with nearly identical breakaway goals three minutes apart later in the period. The first goal was set up off a turnover in center ice and a pass from Cellino, enabling her to walk in alone, take her time, deke left and slide the puck past Mercer. Minutes later she blocked a slapshot on a Bowdoin powerplay at her defensive zone blueline, streaked down the right wing, in alone on Mercer, making an identical move and sliding the puck into the open net.
“I did not even know what a natural hat trick was until this year,” Quizon said.
Bowdoin got back in the game at 3-1 when Meghan Gillis scored on the power play with a blast from the left wing blueline that Middlebury goalie Kate Kogut got a glove on, but could not control.
The game may have turned at 10:00 of the second period when Kristen Cameron broke in untouched to the top of the crease and Kogut used her glove to bat what looked like a certain goal up over the cross bar, maintaining the two-goal Middlebury lead.
Annmarie Cellino started work on her hat trick with a power play goal with 3:13 to go in the second period for 4-1 lead. Middlebury then added four unanswered goals in the third period, three of them coming on breakaways. The eighth goal was Cellino’s sixth shorthanded goal of her freshman season, and her 41st point.
The win made Middlebury 3-0 against rival Bowdoin this season.
“It feels great to play a very good team and beat them three times [in a season],” Quizon said. “They are good competitors and it makes it even more special that we got to host the tournament and win it at home.”
The Panthers now continue the hunt for a third consecutive NCAA title.
“The kids have been here before,” said Middlebury coach Bill Mandigo. “All the teams out there are pretty good. It will be a tough game, but we’ll figure out a way to get prepared and play and see where we go.”