NEW LONDON, Conn. – The Connecticut College women's ice hockey team dropped its season opener to No. 10 Middlebury by a 3-0 decision on Friday evening at Dayton Arena. The Panthers capitalized on both of their power play opportunities and held off an offensive surge by the hosts the rest of the way to earn the shutout victory.
The teams played the first half of the opening period rather evenly with neither side gaining excellent scoring chances. But after a Camel was whistled off the ice for the first penalty of the game at 13:43, the Panthers caught fire and scored twice in a span of 1:19. Maddie Bayard won the puck through a scrum of players and poked in the first goal at 15:08 on the power play before Ashley McDonald quickly doubled the advantage less than two minutes later. Anna Zumwickle fired a shot from the left point that was saved and collected by Ellie Barney, and the junior slipped over a pass that was finished from the left side by McDonald.
Middlebury (1-0, NESCAC 1-0) started the second period on a power play that carried over from the first and capitalized once again just 16 seconds into the frame to pull away. Claudia Vira stopped a clear attempt along the left boards and sent a pass in that was finished to the upper 90 of the net by Madie Leidt.
Despite trailing by three, the Camel offense started coming to life after returning to even strength. The hosts outshot the Panthers by an 8-6 margin in the second frame and had a major chance to get on the board when junior Erin Dillon (Hazlet, N.J.) came flying in from the right side and had her shot stuffed by goalie Lin Han. Even though Connecticut College continued to threaten, Han would not allow anything by her.
Dillon also had a good look from the right side in the opening minutes of the third turned away by Han. Even though the Camels fired off 16 total shots, Han and the Panther defense stood tall to allow the visitors to come away with the three-goal win.
Han finished with 17 saves to pick up the victory for Middlebury, while sophomore Carly Denora (Verona, N.J.) turned away 16 shots in the losing effort for the Camels. The Panthers finished the game with a 38-37 edge in total shots, including a 19-17 advantage on the frame, while going perfect on the power play.
Connecticut College (0-1, NESCAC 0-1) and Middlebury will face off again tomorrow afternoon at 3 p.m.