Courtesy Middlebury Sports Information
PLATTSBURGH, NY. — Middlebury saw its season come to an end with a 3-1 loss at second-ranked Plattsburgh State (24-2-2) in an NCAA Quarterfinal game. The fourth-ranked Panthers end their season with a 20-5-3 mark and a NESCAC Championship.
Middlebury went on the power play just 1:38 into the game, but was unable to get on the board. The best chance to score came from Plattsburgh’s Mackenzie Millen, whose shot went just wide on a two-on-one breakaway. The Cardinals had a power play midway through the period, with the best chance to score coming from the Panthers. Maddie Winslow made a great move to beat her defender, but her shot sailed just wide of the goal. Each team had another power-play opportunity later in the period, but the first 20 minutes ended in a scoreless tie.
Plattsburgh nearly got on the board 1:06 into the game when a deflection by Abby Brush hit the left post after a great feed from Melissa Sheeran. The Cardinals got on the board at the 14:34 mark, three seconds after a power play had expired. Erin McArdle’s hard shot from the right side was denied by a blocker save from Panther netminder Lin Han. The rebound came right back to McArdle, who held the puck briefly before snapping a shot through the five hole for a 1-0 lead.
Middlebury answered just 3:09 later with a power-play goal at the 17:45 mark. Jenna Marotta sent the puck from the right point to the top of the zone where Madie Leidt gathered the pass. She quickly fired a shot on goal that was tipped in by Maddie Winslow for her 12th of the season.
Middlebury had a power-play chance just 1:01 into the third period. The best chance came 1:30 in when Leidt’s initial shot was saved by Cardinal goaltender Kassi Abbott, before she stuffed a second shot.
Plattsburgh went back on top 6:58 into the third with a goal three seconds after a power-play opportunity had expired. Lizzy Viola’s initial shot was turned aside with a pad save from Han, before Ashley Songin gathered the rebound and scored up high from the low slot.
The Panthers kept up the pressure, but some quality chances were turned away by Abbott. Middlebury pulled Han following a timeout with 2:12 remaining, but was unable to earn the equalizer. Plattsburgh’s Mackenzie Millen added an empty-goal with 12 seconds remaining to seal the victory.
Plattsburgh held a 38-27 shots advantage in the game, as Abbott made 26 saves in goal. Han finished with 35 saves for the Panthers. The Cardinals were 0-4 on the power play, while the Panthers went 1-5.
The loss was the first of the season on the road for Middlebury and snapped the team’s 10-game unbeaten streak.