Women’s D-III wrap: Feb. 17

A number of conference races are yet to be resolved, as recent action left questions unanswered.

No significant movement transpired at the top of the conference, as No. 1 Plattsburgh and No.3 Elmira kept pace. The Cardinals overwhelmed Chatham 12-1 and 5-2 in a weekend series, while the Soaring Eagles took a pair of road wins over host Cortland (1-12-1). Oswego, on the strength of a six-game win streak, has advanced to third place with a 10-3-1 conference record. Backed by a solid performance from goalie Bridget Smith, the Lakers topped visiting Utica by identical 2-1 scores over the weekend. Oswego entered the weekend one point ahead of the Pioneers in the ECAC West standings, but currently enjoys a five-point cushion over Utica (8-6-0), which has fallen to fifth place. Potsdam (7-4-3) remains in fourth.

Norwich (No.3) put the finishing touches on a successful weekend, taking down New England College (4-0) and Castleton (4-0) in the process. In Rhode Island, Salve Regina continues to make its presence felt following 3-0, home victories over Manhattanville and Nichols. The Seahawks, 3-1-1 in the month of February, have secured a second seed for the upcoming playoffs, edging out third-place Castleton by one point.

Williams gave unbeaten No.2 Middlebury all it could handle in a crucial weekend home-and-home series. Friday night in Vermont, the Ephs’ Hanna Beattie connected on a power-play goal at 3:54 of the third period, evening the contest at 2-2. The Panthers however, used a holding call by the Ephs at 16:46 as a springboard to collect the game-winner with 2:45 remaining in regulation. Jennifer Krakower beat Williams goalie Chloe Billadeau for the decisive tally. With Billadeau pulled, sophomore forward Michaela Levine’s game-tying bid, with a near open net with 42 ticks left was turned aside by a quickly recovering Panthers goalie Annabelle Jones. Saturday at the Lansing Chapman Rink, Jones and Billadeau were front and center again in a 1-1 tie. Jones (12-0-4) finished with 22 saves and Billadeau had 24 in a tightly played defensive contest. Cristina Bravi’s unassisted score late in the first held up for the home team until the Panthers’ Pam Schulman evened the festivities up at 17:26 in the third with helpers from Katie Mandigo and Madeline Joyce. Williams remains a point behind second-place Amherst in the conference with two games remaining in the regular season.

The status quo at the top of the MIAC standings remained as St. Thomas and Gustavus Aldolphus battled to a weekend split in a home-and-home set. Following a 3-1 loss on Saturday, Gustavus fell to 13-3-0 in the MIAC, while the Tommies, who lost by a 3-1 final the previous night, upped their record 12-2-2 in league play.  St. Thomas will engage in their final regular season series with a home-and-home series with St. Benedict, while the Gusties take on Bethel.