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No. 6 Middlebury Blanks Eighth-Ranked Women’s Ice Hockey in Early Battle for NESCAC Supremacy

Kyla Floresca

MIDDLEBURY, Conn. – Sixth-ranked Middlebury handed the eighth-ranked Connecticut College women's ice hockey team just its first loss of the season by posting a 3-0 shutout in an early battle for NESCAC supremacy on Friday evening at Kenyon Arena.

After a scoreless first period which saw Camel netminder Bailey Mertz (Glenville, N.Y.) make multiple stops from point-blank range, Middlebury (3-2, NESCAC 3-0) capitalized on a 5-on-3 power play to get on the board seven minutes into the second frame when Jessica Young buried the puck to the left post. Senior Katlyn Paiva (Rehoboth, Mass.) had the best opportunity to net the equalizer in the frame when she collected a bouncing puck that found her stick in the slot, but her attempt on an open net was blocked by defender Maddie Winslow.

Connecticut College, which outshot the hosts by a 22-18 margin and entered the contest leading the nation in scoring defense, nearly tied the game early in the third period. However, a shot through a scramble of players in front of the net by sophomore Kyla Floresca (West Memphis, Ark.) was turned away by goalie Lin Han. Middlebury then added two more markers which came off the sticks of Katherine Jackson and Young before Han dove to her right to rob Camel forward Lauren Helm (Firsco, Texas) of a goal on a power play opportunity down the stretch to preserve the clean sheet.

Han made 22 saves to pick up the victory for Middlebury, while the Camels' Mertz turned away 15 Panther shot attempts.

Connecticut College (3-1, NESCAC 2-1) and Middlebury will square off one more time tomorrow afternoon at 3:00 p.m.