Elmira uses one goal to take down Middlebury in national championship
SUPERIOR, Wis. -- Senior Lauren Sullivan stopped 30 shots in her school-record 11th shutout of the season and Taylor Steadman tallied her seventh goal of the season as Elmira won a tightly contested game 1-0 against Middlebury in the NCAA Division III Women's Hockey Championship on Saturday at Wessman Arena.
The Soaring Eagles (23-5-1) avenged a rematch of the 2005 NCAA Championship against Middlebury where the Panthers (20-7-2) beat EC on its home ice. The national championship marks the third in Elmira's 12-year history and ties them for the most titles in women's hockey history with Middlebury.
Both teams saw plenty of scoring opportunities early. Ella Stewart came closest to finding the back of the net as she struck a shot off the left post from the point. The Soaring Eagles then committed their second penalty of the evening but were once again able to kill the Panther power-play chance. EC was called for a third penalty with 32 seconds remaining in the opening frame. Despite three penalties in the opening 20 minutes the two teams were even in shots at 6-6.
The Purple and Gold killed the penalty to start the second period and got two opportunities of its own on the power play. The extra skater unit generated some solid scoring opportunities, but Panther goaltender Annabelle Jones made some key saves. At the 12:26 mark of the second frame EC got on the board.
Samantha Curk played a shot in from a tricky angle from the front of the left faceoff circle. Steadman was in perfect position in front of net as she gathered the rebound and beat Jones low glove side for the 1-0 lead. After a body checking penalty the Soaring Eagle penalty kill unit came up big once again killing off another infraction as the team took a 1-0 lead into the second intermission. Elmira held a slim 20-17 shots on goal advantage.
The third period was a battle back-and-forth as the goaltenders made a combined 24 saves. Sullivan was solid in net once again stopping 30 shots, including 11 in the final 20 minutes to tally her school record 11th shutout of the season. She also ties the school record for shutouts in a career with 22. Jones made 25 saves in the loss for Middlebury.
Sullivan, Steadman and Ashley Ryan were all named to the All-Tournament team.