Middlebury has advanced to the NCAA Frozen Four for the sixth time after a 1-0 shutout victory over Manhattanville (19-8-1) in an first-round game played in Kenyon Arena. The Panthers (22-1-4) will take on R.I.T. in one semifinal on March 18th, while Gustavus Adolphus meets Norwich in the second semifinal. The site of the Frozen Four will officially be announced on Sunday, with it likely to be in Rochester, N.Y.
Middlebury outshot Manhattanville 30-20 in the game as Panther netminder Alexi Bloom earned her school-record 11th shutout of the season with 20 saves.
Neither team scored in the first period, with each having a failed power play opportunity. The period ended with the Panthers holding a 12-6 shots advantage.
Middlebury had an opportunity 7:00 into the second period, but Sara Uglade was denied by Emy Cote before Lauren Greer was also turned away. Grace Waters just missed a top shelf shot at the 13:00 mark on the power play, before the Valiants followed with a great opportunity late in the period. Katie Little made a crossing pass to Lynsey Schill whose redirect was denied by Alexi Bloom. The second period ended scoreless with the Panthers holding a 19-12 shots advantage.
Manhattanville had a chance on the power play 7:30 into the third, as Hannah Muskego’s shot hit her teammate Shannon Coffey before deflecting off Bloom’s shoulder. Bloom followed a minute later with a big glove save on Holly Nonis to keep the game scoreless.
The Panthers broke through at the 13:59 mark, with Maggie Woodward scoring her fourth of the season, with assists going to Nora Bergman (9) and Madison Styrbicki (team-leading 17th). Strybricki’s shot from the right point tipped Bergman before it was saved by Cote. Woodward was there for the rebound to finish and give the Panthers a 1-0 lead.
Manhattanville pulled Cote with 44 seconds remaining, but was unable to muster up a scoring threat as Middlebury held on for the 1-0 win. Cote finished the game with 29 saves.