Women’s D-III wrap: Jan. 5

With the semester layoff in the background, the nation’s top four teams were back at it in earnest in their collective return. No.1 Plattsburgh hosted No.3 Norwich and No. 2 Middlebury invited No.4 Elmira to the Green Mountain State for a Saturday night contest. The latter proved the more entertaining of the two.

At Plattsburgh’s Ronald B. Stafford Ice Arena, Cardinals goalie Sydney Aveson penciled in her eighth whitewash of the season and 25th of her storied career in a 6-0 battering of the Cadets. Aveson made 27 saves in the lopsided affair. Plattsburgh killed of all five Norwich power-play opportunities, improving their seasonal statistical perfection to a brilliant 42-of-42.

Middlebury’s Katie Mandigo score 1:50 into overtime propelled the No. 2 Panthers to a 3-2 win over No. 4 Elmira Saturday night at Kenyon Arena. The Soaring Eagles gained a tenuous 2-1 edge midway through the second period on a tally by Briana Saltstone at 10:57, but the host club drew even on Pam Schulman’s second goal of the season with 7:44 remaining in regulation. In addition to outshooting the opposition 31-23, Middlebury played its first penalty-free contest of the season.

Pointers split first test of 2014
Wisconsin-Stevens Point (No.5) split with St. Norbert in a weekend set in which each road team prevailed. Pointers goalie Janna Beilke-Skoug recorded her 25th career win in Friday’s 3-1 victory. The following afternoon at Ice Hawks Arena, St. Norbert’s Rachel Koppang broke a 1-1 tie with the lone score in the middle period as the Green Knights secured a 3-1 win as well.

Tommies Maine adventure
St. Thomas returned from break with a 3-1 win over host Bowdoin Sunday afternoon. The Tommies two-game Eastern trip concludes Monday with a matchup with Massachusetts-Boston. The Tommies ended a three-game winless streak with the positive result. Sophomore forward Karina Marette sent home the game-winning goal with 9:00 remaining in the third period. Senior goalie Alise Riedel upped her record to 6-1-1 with the 25-save outing.

Tournament time
Both Massachusetts-Boston and St. Michael’s prevailed at their own tournaments this weekend, and in the process garnered a number of program “firsts.”

The Beacons captured the Codfish Bowl title after six previous years of coming up empty-handed. Further north, the Purple Knights eradicated themselves from a winless season with a 5-1 defeat of Nichols at Cairns Arena on Saturday in the deciding game of the St. Michael’s DoubleTree Hockey Classic.

St. Michael’s, 0-9-0 going into weekend action, battled Sacred Heart to a scoreless tie in its opener on Friday. Purple Knights freshman goaltender Tina Frasca earned her first career shutout, making a season-high 37 stops. Pioneers goalie Alexius Schutt finished with 31 saves.

Sacred Heart rebounded less than 24 hours later, completing a 2-1 win over Plymouth State. Schutt mirrored her effort from the previous game, registering 31 saves in the victory.

The Purple Knights’ Amanda Kempainen registered the 11th hat trick in program history in the triumph over the Pioneers. Kempainen (4-1-5), a sophomore forward, had one goal in 15 games a year ago for her club.

The Beacons ran their unbeaten string to five games with a 2-0 win over Connecticut College in the championship game of the Codfish. Tournament MVP, defenseman Samantha Fallon got the game-winner 7:32 into the opening period and the Beacons defense, bolstered by the play of goalie sophomore Casey Schaejbe (29 saves), took over from there. Schaejbe lowered her GAA to 1.58 with the performance.

Women’s D-III picks: Jan. 3-5

Friday, Jan. 3, Saturday, Jan. 4

Wisconsin-Stevens Point at St. Norbert (home-and-home)
The Pointers concluded 2013 with a five-game win streak, their last loss coming at the hands of Wisconsin-Superior last Nov. 23. The Green Knights, paced by scoring leader Ali Parker, registered a pair of wins against upper echelon opponents Lake Forest and Adrian in the early portion of the schedule. St. Norbert heads into the weekend with a 4-2-0 record away from Resch Olympic Pavilion. St. Norbert over Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Wisconsin-Stevens Point over St. Norbert

Saturday, Jan. 4

Manhattanville at Bowdoin
Both teams hope to make the best of a second chance afforded them by a change in the calendar. The two preseason top 10 favorites have bounced along on bumpy ice since the outset of the campaign. The Valiants and Polar Bears are a combined 8-7-1 overall heading into weekend action. Bowdoin’s power play unit has a huge advantage in this one, coming in rankedthird in the nation. In contrast, you’ll have to scroll down the list to find the Valiants, who check in at 43rd with a power play percentage of 7.84 (4-of-51). Bowdoin over Manhattanville

Sunday, Jan. 5

Norwich at Plattsburgh
Norwich faltered on all six power-play opportunities in the initial meeting of the season between the two clubs in the season-opening East/West Hockey Classic held at the Kreitzberg Arena, in which Plattsburgh prevailed 6-0. The Cadets will have to break through against a Cardinals penalty killing crew that has been perfect in all 37 short-handed situations if they intend to gain a positive outcome. The matchup with the Cardinals is the first of eight consecutive road contests for the Cadets. The Cardinals remain unbeaten on home ice. Plattsburgh over Norwich

St. Michael’s Ice Hockey Classic, Friday, Jan.3, Saturday, Jan. 4
The opening tilt matching Nichols College and Plymouth State shakes out to be the most competitive in the ninth annual tournament. In addition to taking a 3-0 victory over the Panthers earlier in the season, the Bison have overcome a former top-10 squad, taking a 4-3 road win against Manhattanville last month. Sacred Heart. currently in the midst of a seven-game winless streak, will open the tournament against host St. Michaels.

Plymouth State University (2-7) vs. Nichols College (2-6): Nichols over Plymouth State
Saint Michael’s College (0-9) vs. Sacred Heart University (1-7-3): Sacred Heart over St. Michael’s
Plymouth State vs. Sacred Heart: Plymouth State over Sacred Heart
Saint Michael’s vs. Nichols: Nichols over St. Michael’s

Codfish Bowl preview

Massachusetts -Boston serves up a hearty portion of classic New England fare in hosting the seventh edition of the Codfish Bowl, beginning Thursday at the Clark Athletic Center Ice Arena.

Lake Forest, the defending champion, opted to stay at home this time around, thus guaranteeing a new victor for 2014.

The Beacons welcome first-time participant Connecticut College to the festivities, joining both Neumann and Stevenson. Coach Kristin Steele’s Camels are the lone squad with a winning record in the tournament, which has regularly been the domain of NESCAC participants.

The hosts, seeking their initial championship victory in the Codfish, have a 5-7 slate in the history of the tournament. The Beacons will kick off play in a matchup against Stevenson and one of the nation’s leading goal scorers in sophomore Mackenzie Taggart. In Thursday’s second tilt, the Camels tackle Neumann University.

Friday’s title contest begins at 4:00 p.m.

Our look.

Thursday, January 2

The Beacons defense will be up to task against Taggart and her teammates in the opener. Goaltenders Casey Schaejbe and Moe Bradley have both provided the Beacons with quality goaltending in the latter portion of 2013. Massachusetts-Boston over Stevenson

Connecticut College heads into the game with considerable advantages over the Knights. Neumann’s offensive exploits will be hard pressed to upend the strong Camels defensive scheme. Connecticut College over Neumann

Friday January 3

Consolation game: Stevenson’s offense trumps whatever the Knights can muster in response. Stevenson over Neumann

Championship: Significant victories over Colby and Southern Maine characterized a solid month of December for the Beacons. The Camels also headed into the break with the momentum in their favor, closing with a three-game winning streak. A tight, close-to-the vest, championship game is in store. Connecticut College over Massachusetts-Boston


Thursday, January 2

Massachusetts- Boston (3-6-2 overall, 1-4-1 ECAC-East) vs. Stevenson University (3-7-1 Independent), 1:00 p.m.
Neumann University (2-8-0 overall, 1-5-0 ECAC-West) vs. Connecticut College (4-2-2 overall, 1-1-2 NESCAC), 4:00 p.m.

Friday, January 3

Consolation Game, 1:00 p.m., Championship Game, 4:00 p.m.

Team comparisons: (national rank)          Team offense                    Team defense
Massachusetts Boston                                  1.55 (41st)                            2.00 (15th)
Connecticut College                                       2.75 (18th)                           1.50 (6th)
Neumann                                                        1.50 (42nd)                          3.40 (42nd)
Stevenson                                                       2.45 (26th)                           3.55 (45th)

Leading scorers

Massachusetts-Boston: Katie Loiselle  (3-3-6), Neumann:  Meghan Power (2-4-6), Connecticut College: Olivia Farrell  (4-2-6), Stevenson: McKenzie Taggart (11-1-12)

Frosh defenders

Integrating  freshman into an established lineup can be a daunting task for coaches.  Finding personnel that can immediately make an impact on the blue line is often a particularly difficult exercise. The following newcomers have stepped into their respective defensemen roles in a big way.

Kendall Appelbaum, Oswego:  The 5-foot-9-inch Eden, N.Y., native, a graduate of the North American Hockey Academy, is tied for the team lead in power-play goals with three, and is  among the top scorers on the Lakers with 3-2-5 numbers. Coach Diane Dillon’s  squad currently ranks second in the nation with a goals-per-game-against average of 1.00. Appelbaum has meshed well with established defensemen, seniors Leslie Jarvis and Chelsea Hunt. Appelbaum was among three immediate contributors to the class of  2017 that includes forwards Ashley Lyman and Bridget Hamlin. Lyman is quite familiar with Appelbaum’s level of play, as both skated for the Buffalo Bisons of the NAHA. Oswego finished off 2013 winning five of its last six. Appelbaum registered her first career game-winning goal in a win over Canton on Dec. 7.

Paige Johnson, Wisconsin-River Falls:  The Falcons have adequate offense to be competitive (4.08 points per game), which frees up Johnson to defend the fort. In that capacity, the Marshfield, Wis., defenseman has been a pleasant surprise for Joe Cranston’s 17th ranked defense. Johnson has just nine shots on goal through a dozen games, but has a plus-minus of plus-7, to go along with her six assists and one power-play score. Johnson has shown an early penchant to be front and center  in high level contests. In the Falcons final game before the semester break, a 3-0 victory over No. 5 Gustavus Adolphus, Johnson was a plus-2 and added an assist on the insurance goal, while aiding in the Ashley Kuechle’s third  shutout of 2013.

Jane Pagano and Cassie Hunter, Connecticut College: The departure of senior defenseman Molly Murphy, who suited up for 93 career games, was a significant loss to the Camels heading into the 2013-14 season, but head coach Kristen Steele, now in her 13th year in New London, received a double dose of skill in Pagano and Hunter, who have combined for five goals and three assists in eight games. Both players are tied for third in overall team scoring. The pair have recorded 11 penalties for 22 minutes to go along with one game-winning goal and a power-play goal apiece.

Six for 2014

The following have demonstrably improved their play during 2013. It’s a good bet that they will continue in 2014

Tori Charron, Norwich: The senior forward who led the nation in goals a year ago with 30, is back, stressing opposing goaltenders with aplomb. Charron finished off the 2013 portion of the Cadets’ schedule with a six game point streak that was composed of six goals and six helpers. Charron’s contributions to the Cadets’ pursuits are glaring. She has registered six game winning goals and three power play markers thus far. In her second season with Norwich, the former Elmira College skater has amassed 88 goals and 41 assists in 89 career games.

Isabel Waidacher, St. Scholastica: Performing with all the cache of a veteran, the Switzerland born freshman has recorded seven multi-point outings in 11 games. Her five goals, eight point offensive outburst against Finlandia arrived in just her third game as a collegian.

Allison Era, Plattsburgh: The Glendale, AZ, senior has anchored the outstanding Cardinals defense that is apparently unsolvable as seen through the early going. Era, always an offensive threat, has a team-high 13 assists.

Megan Myers, Utica: Myers has scored points in all eight of the Pioneers games thus far, racking up seven goals and 14 points. The Las Vegas, NV, forward is well ahead of her all-time best, points-per-game average of 1.60, which she registered in her sophomore season. Myers has been an important cog in the Pioneers current six game win streak.

McKenzie Taggart, Stevenson: As an independent program in only its second season, the Mustangs are in the infancy of constructing a base for the future. Taggart has been at the forefront in that regard; finishing as leading scorer a year ago. Taggart has netted 11 goals thus far; good enough for fifth in D-III action. The sophomore forward is also tied for second with six power play goals. Taggart, who notched the first hat-trick in the Mustangs brief history in an 8-4 loss to St. Benedict earlier the month, will have an opportunity to add another entry into the record book, as she is two points shy of eclipsing the 13 points she finished with last season.

Janna Beilke-Skoug, Wisconsin-Stevens Point:  Beilke-Skoug has seen a touch over 600 minutes of play in 2013; ranking her third in the country. The juniors’ positive progression has been a boon for the Pointers who rank seventh in overall team defense. Beilke-Skoug has dramatically reworked her numbers. Her GAA has fallen from 2.41 in 2012-13 to 1.49 currently and her save percentage has followed suit, increasing from .907 to .948. Beilke-Skoug stands at 8-1-1 at the break, a marked improvement from her 5-6-2 of last season.



Women’s D-III wrap: Dec. 16

Fine week for WIAC
For the three seasons prior to this year, Gustavus Adolphus had built a brilliant 44-0-4 record on home ice. An early season, one-goal defeat put an end to the stellar streak. In the final game before the semester break however, the Golden Gusties were stung once again at home, taking a 3-0 loss at the hands of visiting No. 10 Wisconsin-River Falls. Gustavus Adolphus had not been on the losing end of a regular season shutout since a 0-0 tie with Trinity on Jan. 14, 2011. Wis.-River Falls senior Katie Batters had a pair of goals in the win, but her first of the night was all that was required to trip up the No. 6 Golden Gusties. Batters’ unassisted short-handed tally occurred 13 seconds into the third period. Falcons freshman forward Jenna Ulberg precipitated the short-handed situation when was sent to the box for checking at 18:33 of the second. Batters, the top goal scorer for the Falcons with seven, had been held without a score in her last three games before taking to the sheet at Don Roberts Ice Arena. Batters closed out the festivities with an empty-netter with a helper from Brook Story with six seconds left in regulation. Ashley Kuechle turned aside 25 shots in gaining her third shutout of the year. The Falcons held the Golden Gusties leading scorer, sophomore Allison Eder-Zdechlik, to two shots on goal in the game, both coming in the first 40 minutes of action. Both of the Golden Gusties losses at home this season have come at the hands of teams from the WIAC.

The WIAC has had a significant role in what has become a weekly merry-go-round of suitors for the lower end of the USCHO poll rankings. Overall, the four entities in the conference have combined for a 16-5-6 nonconference record. Factoring out Wis.-Eau Claire,  the numbers improve to 15-1-4. Wis.-River Falls is the lone team to take a nonconference hit, a 5-3 loss to Bethel.

St. Thomas coach Tom Palkowski could have concluded 2013 by achieving his 100th career win with the Tommies, but visiting Wis.-Stevens Point concocted an opposite scenario with a pair of weekend victories in the Tommies’ home building. Cassandra Salmen scored two third-period goals last Friday in a tight 3-2 Pointers win. On Saturday, St. Thomas had a hefty advantage on shots on goal over Stevens Point, but it proved to be all for naught as Megan Nickelson’s winner at 10:39 left in regulation capped a 1-0 win for the Pointers. Palkowski currently stands at 98 wins. The Tommies open the 2014 with a home-and-home series with St. Norbert on January 4.

Women’s D-III picks: Dec. 13-14

A spattering of nonconference play shuts the door on the 2013 portion of the schedule. A few top-ranked teams and aspiring top 10 clubs are in action, however. This is how it plays out.

Friday, Dec. 13

Wisconsin-River Falls at Gustavus Adolphus
The Golden Gusties managed a 2-2 tie with the Falcons last Wednesday night on Allison Eder-Zdechlik’s tally with one second remaining in regulation. Both of the visitors goals were power-play scores. The tie allowed the Gusties to up their consecutive unbeaten streak to eight. The Falcons have rebounded nicely from a 2-3-0 start to reel off six straight contests without a defeat. In that span, the River Falls defense has allowed just eight goals. Senior goalie Ashley Kuechle has been rock solid for River Falls, but the Golden Gusties are virtually untouchable on home ice. Gustavus Adolphus 3-1

Friday-Saturday, Dec. 13-14

Wisconsin-Superior at Marian
Marian will be skating for the first time on home ice since Nov. 16. The return home however, might not be pleasant given the opponent, No.9 Wisconsin-Superior. The Sabres have a single win against opponents with a .500 record or above. Junior forward Amanda Waigand is averaging 1.33 points per game and has knocked home six of the seven power play goals that the Sabres have realized.

The Yellowjackets have six skaters who have recorded four goals or more through the 11 games played thus far. Dani Schultz heads the team with 12 points, but has not scored a goal in her last eight outings. If any offensive deficiencies arise in the series however, Superior is more than adequately equipped to take control in its own end. The Yellowjackets have been solid with the penalty kill (90.0 percent) and have allowed just 1.73 points against per contest. Junior goalie Shanley Peters has been iron clad in playing the third most minutes in the nation while ranking 13 in save percentage. Wisconsin-Superior 5-1, 4-2

Bethel vs. Wisconsin-Eau Claire (home and home)
Bethel has posted impressive numbers through the early portion of the season. A pair of weekend wins here would give them six straight games without a defeat. The Royals rank 11 in team offense, while Wisconsin-Eau Claire has dropped to 43 overall. A paltry  power play has produced four goals in 45 tries for the Blugolds, whose last and only victory came last Nov. 8. A week later, Eau Claire impressively battled Wisconsin-Superior in a 2-2 tie. Although they were outshot 48-19, coach Mike Collins’ club used an early third-period score by sophomore forward Ashley Baugher to secure the deadlock. It’s unlikely that the Royals will be dealt a similar hand. Bethel goes into the break with a pair of wins. Bethel 6-1, 6-2

Wisconsin-Stevens Point at St. Thomas
Wis.-Stevens  Point goalie Janna Beilke-Skoug and Tommies goaltender Alise Riedel will likely be in the limelight in this weekend series. Riedel reached the 40-win career mark last week in a pair of strong performances against Concordia (Minn.) in which she allowed one goal in 125 minutes of action. Beilke-Skoug is seventh in the nation in save percentage. Both clubs have average power play units at this point. The Tommies penalty kill has been slightly more efficient than their weekend opposition. St. Thomas 4-3, Wisconsin Stevens Point 2-1

Women’s D-III wrap: Dec. 9

The aptly named ‘trap’ game reared up this week, further clouding the normal thought procedures that characterize the top 10. The ECAC-East provided a few surprising finishes, while the NESCAC and NCHA also delivered their share of interesting twists. Heading into the break, only Plattsburgh (9-0-1) remains unbeaten following previously unbeaten St. Scholastica’s most recent defeat.

Unheralded Bisons trip Valiants
No. 10 Manhattanville ran into a buzz saw of sorts in the opening game of a home-and-home set with ECAC-East foe Nichols (2-6-0 overall). Friday night at the Terry Connors Rink, Nichols received a pair of goals from Grace Murphy. The second, a power-play tally, arrived with a scant 12 seconds remaining in regulation, propelling the Bisons to a 4-3 triumph. The Valiants’ loss halted a three-game win streak. Nichols improved to 2-3-0 in conference and 2-6-0 overall. Manhattanville was stung by a power play that was rendered a non-factor in an 0-12 performance. The Valiants outshot the Bisons, 53-30. Saturday afternoon, the Valiants, bolstered by junior forward Alla Traun’s sixth score of the year, hung on for a 1-0 win over the Bisons.

Mules struggle against unranked Seahawks, Huskies
Three weeks ago, Colby tagged highly ranked Bowdoin with a pair of one-goal losses. Since then, the Mules have gone 0-2-1 in their last three outings. Colby managed a 3-3 tie with visiting Salve Regina on Friday, and fell to Southern Maine on the road the following afternoon.  Sophomore Megan Fortier had a pair of power-play goals in the third period. The loss to the Huskies continues to be a bright spot for Colby, but the penalty killing unit has slipped to 67.9 percent. In conference play, the Mules are being outshot by a touch over 14 shots per game.

Massachusetts-Boston joins upset weekend
Southern Maine had troubles of its own in Friday’s 3-0 loss to Massachusetts-Boston. Beacons’ goalie Casey Schaejbe earned her first career shutout in the upset. Mass.-Boston opened to the tune of a 1-6-1 record in the early going, but has since tacked up quality wins over the aforementioned Colby and Southern Maine, and a 0-0 tie with Trinity on the road on Saturday.

Saints’ string snapped
St. Scholastica was back at scoring goals at an above-average rate in the opener of its weekend series, with Adrian taking a 7-3 win in the process. The offensive fireworks did not carry over however, as the Bulldogs came back nicely the following afternoon, knocking home a pair of late third-period goals to nab a 3-2 win over the Saints, who came into the week at No. 8. The Adrian triumph snapped a 10-game unbeaten string for the Saints. The clubs posted an interesting array of statistics over the two games. The Saints registered five power-play goals in the opening game, including three straight in the first period in wrangling the momentum from the visitors. In all, the two foes combined for 32 penalties for 97 minutes over the two games. In the opener, the Bulldogs overcame a 2-1 deficit in the third period with goals by Kelsey Kusch and freshman forward Sarah Shureb. Shureb’s game winner, a power-play goal, came with 19 seconds remaining in regulation.

Previously ranked St. Norbert splits
Jenna Brown’s third period goal was the tipping point in Concordia’s (Wisc.) 2-1 victory over St. Norbert on Saturday. The win salvaged a split with the Green Knights and kept the Falcons a point ahead of fifth place St. Norbert in the NCHA standings.

Women’s D-III picks: Dec. 6-11

Friday-Saturday, Dec. 6-7


Adrian at St. Scholastica
Already halfway toward their 14 wins of a year ago, the Saints have the top three scorers in the nation in Nina Waidacher, Isabel Waidacher and Michelle Fischer. St. Scholastica is the lone team with a goals-per-game average of over five. Adrian ranks fourth with a 4.50 average. Most likely, a battle of special teams will decide the outcome. The Saints bring an outstanding power play to the table. Although the hosts have carved out a whopping 41.5 percent success rate with the advantage, the Bulldogs are among the top penalty killing units with a 91.8 percent record. St. Scholastica 5-3, 4-2


Wisconsin-River Falls vs. Wisconsin-Superior (home and home)
Stingy defense has been the norm on both sides recently;,Wis.-River Falls allowing just two scores in its last three, and the Yellowjackets a similar three goals against over the same period. Wis.-River Falls has been involved in a number of early season shootouts, having been involved in five games with combined goals of eight or more. The Yellowjackets’ offense has received outstanding work from forward Dani Schultz who has produced 10 points and three game-winners thus far. Wis.-Superior has not allowed a power-play tally its last 13 attempts. Home advantage goes a long way in this two game set. Wis.-Superior 4,-3 Wis.-River Falls 6-4


St. Olaf at Gustavus Adolphus (home and home)
Mike Carroll’s Golden Gusties rank fourth in the nation in team defense, with eight goals given up in seven games. Contrarily, St. Olaf’s defense has been porous, making the challenge not so favorable for the overmatched Oles. Gustavus Adolphus 6-2, 5-0


Saturday Dec. 7

Colby at Southern Maine
This is the second meeting of two teams with serious top 10 aspirations. The Mules squeezed out a slim 1-0 win with a mid-third period goal in a late November matchup. The Huskies have a slight advantage in offensive play at this point in the season, but have lined up against foes lacking the cache of what Colby has faced thus far. Southern Maine’s opponents have compiled an overall record of 20-32-4, while the Mules have taken on teams that have an overall mark of 15-11-1. Colby is currently 2-2-0 against ranked or previously ranked clubs, while the Huskies are 0-1-0. Southern Maine senior forward Erin Banfield will be the lone skater on the ice who has at least a point-per-game average. Banfield has a registered a pair of game-winning scores as well. Mules’ sophomore Megan Fortier leads the team in goals with four. The power play units on both sides have struggled recently, which very well could be a deciding factor on the USM Ice Arena venue. Colby has shown adeptness on the road, albeit in a small sample, following an eye-opening 3-2 OT win over Bowdoin. Colby 4-3

Sunday Dec. 8

Amherst at Norwich
Amherst’s first week among the top 10 (No. 9) offers up a quality matchup with No. 3 Norwich, which has a seven-game win streak heading into weekend play. The Lady Jeffs’ top three point leaders have been held to a simmer recently, putting up a combined 2-1-3 over the last three games. The Cadets will skate off against Bowdoin on Saturday, while Amherst is idle, which may be meaningful but Norwich at home will be difficult to overtake regardless. Norwich 4-2

Women’s D-III wrap: Dec. 2

Limited conference action characterized the post-Thanksgiving D-III national landscape. Fortunately, the Cardinal-Panther Classic hosted by Middlebury provided three top-ranked squads the opportunity to be the focal point of action last weekend. Certainly, the much sought after go-round between Plattsburgh and Middlebury came to fruition, with the Cardinals squeezing out a well-played 2-0 triumph on Sunday. Fourth-ranked Elmira, unbeaten in ECAC-West play (4-0-0) nabbed a win in the Classic as well, but also took its second loss of the year, both coming against nonconference opponents and both in tournament settings. There were a handful of nonconference battles along the way, but only the three aforementioned teams of the top 10 took to the ice in all.

Cardinal-Panther Classic
Amherst sophomore Eileen Harris had one goal this season prior to taking the ice for the Lady Jeffs in the Cardinal-Panther Classic this past weekend. The fact that the Winnetka, Ill., native added her second of the year at the Classic in a taunt 1-1 tie with Plattsburgh was extremely significant for the Lady Jeffs, who are knocking on the door of the top ten rankings.

The ancillary portion of Harris’s game tying goal is now the focus of a trivia answer, as in who was the first player to score a goal against Plattsburgh? Indeed, Harris’ marker at 18:36 of the second period disrupted a 518 minute string of perfection by Cardinals goaltenders Sydney Aveson, Ally Ross, and freshman Cami Leonard. In 10 games, Plattsburgh goalies have amassed nine shutouts and turned aside 153 of 154 bids for an out-of-the-realm save percentage of .994. Not unexpectedly given her lofty numbers (7-0-1, 0.12 GAA), Aveson has led the nation in nearly every category. Following the Cardinal-Panther Classic of 2013, the Harris/Aveson duo will be forever linked.

Middlebury (No. 2) added three late, final period goals in a 5-3 in a comeback victory over No. 4 Elmira at the Kenyon Arena in Saturday’s Cardinal-Panther opener. Senior forward Sara Ugalde provided the decisive goal with help from sophomore Julia Wardwell, who garnered her first point of the season.

Amherst outshot Elmira in Sunday’s action 29-15, but fell to the Soaring Eagles on an early third-period score by Erin Weston. Weston is two short of her career season best of seven goals that she put together last season. Lady Jeffs goalie Kerri Stuart, who took her first loss of the campaign, was seeking her 25th career win.

Visiting Plattsburgh (No. 1) ventured onto the ice at Kenyon Arena with the highest-ranked defense in the country and a top five spot in offensive efficiency against host Middlebury (No. 2), slotted in few ticks below in both categories, in an anticipated matchup that capped off the Cardinal-Panther Classic Sunday afternoon. In a game that was relatively evenly played, it was Plattsburgh’s Giovanna Senese who registered the game-winner in the second period. Senese added her second of the afternoon midway through the final period to wrap it up for the Cardinals. Senese has accumulated five points in her last four games. Each team finished with 21 shots on goal and the penalty killing units were solid as the Cardinals held the Panthers to a 0-for-3 day, while Plattsburgh failed to connect in both skater-advantage opportunities they possessed.

Pipers halt fall
Hamline’s sweep of Marian in nonconference action provided the Sabres with their third successive defeat. The Pipers (2-5-1 overall), who have yet to pencil in a ‘W’ in the MIAC standings (0-3-1), ended a six game winless skid. Senior defenseman Jessica Hunt notched her first goal of the season, a dramatic one at that, when she beat Marian goalie Ali Glazer with 26 seconds remaining in regulation for a 3-2 win in the opener.

Lane led Polar Bears back even
Formerly top 10 ranked Bowdoin edged its overall record back to .500 with a 2-1 road win over host Holy Cross Saturday afternoon in nonconference action. Both of the goals came off the stick of senior co-captain Madeline Lane, who netted the winner with 2:10 to go in the third.  Lane’s two scores were off the power play. The Polar Bears, tied for 27th in team offense with Salve Regina, managed a scant 13 shots on Crusaders goalie Krista Manzanares, while Holy Cross concluded play with 29 on Bowdoin’s Beth Findley. The Polar Bears and Hamilton are the two remaining clubs without a NESCAC win thus far.

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