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.