The NESCAC was the focal point for a pair of major upsets, while other favorites were taken to the brink in similar fashion.
Top-seeded Middlebury’s bid to return to familiar territory, an NCAA tournament slot, came to an unforeseen halt at the hands of unheralded Connecticut College in the NESCAC quarterfinals Saturday at Kenyon Arena. Justina Germano capped the significant victory with her third goal of the season at 10:00 of overtime. The No. 4 Panthers ran up a sizzling 14-0-3 record in conference, but must now rely on an at-large bid for an opportunity to suit up again. Middlebury held a 40-20 shots-on-goal advantage over the eighth-seeded Camels, who received a strong performance from junior keeper Kelsie Fralick. The Panthers failed to connect on all nine power-play chances afforded them. Fralick stopped six Panthers shots in the OT. Middlebury’s leading scorers, Emily Fluke (14-13-27) and Katie Sullivan (12-11-23), did not dress for the Panthers. The Camels, who trudged through a 4-9-3 conference record this season, posted one victory over a previously ranked club, a 5-4 triumph at home against Amherst. Connecticut College’s most significant road win of the year arrived in its last regular season game against Williams.
Outshot 45-10, seventh-seeded Colby slipped past second-seed Amherst, 3-2. Freshman Jess Barkley’s marker with 1:18 left in regulation, with helpers by Delaney Flynn and Samantha Slotnick, guaranteed the Mules a semifinal date with Bowdoin next week.
Positive results in the quarterfinals did not play out angst-free for Williams, as Hanna Beattie’s goal midway through the final period stood as the deciding marker. Trinity (5-6-5) had knotted the score at 2-2 just 36 seconds earlier on a tally by Lauren Glynn. The Bantams came into the postseason with a 0-2-4 record in their last six outings. The Ephs remain the lone team in the upcoming semifinals with a winning record in NESCAC play.
Torrie Charron scored both goals for No. 3 Norwich, including the game-winner in overtime as the top-seeded Cadets prevailed 2-1 over a tenacious Massachusetts-Boston squad in the semifinals of the ECAC East tournament on Saturday at Kreitzberg Arena. Norwich goalie Taylor Fairchild was nearing what would have been her fifth shutout of the season before Samantha Fallon’s score at 18: 16 of the third altered the complexion of the game. Charron’s winning score at 6:20 of the extra period gave her 25 goals for the season.
Castleton, a 5-1 victor over second-seeded Salve Regina, earned its first trip to the conference championship in program history and will head to Norwich next weekend in hopes of gaining an automatic NCAA bid.
Wisconsin-Stevens Point got the best of Wisconsin-Superior in a pair of defensive struggles on home ice. The No. 6 Pointers took 2-1 and 1-0 victories over the Yellowjackets. Megan Menotti made good on a power-play opportunity with 49 seconds remaining in regulation for the game-winner in game two. Janna Beilke-Skoug finished with 54 stops in the two-game set for the Pointers, who will face Wisconsin-River Falls for the O’Brien Cup next Saturday in River Falls.
No. 7 St. Thomas fired 51 shots on Concordia goalie Madison Denny, but required a score from the stick of Hannah Bird in overtime to secure a 4-3 win.