March 21, 2009

Middlebury earned its 20th win of the season as the Panthers picked up a 3-2 overtime victory over Wisconsin-River Falls in the NCAA third place game played on campus. With just 12 seconds left in overtime, Heidi Woodworth sent a puck in from the right point, that was deflected in by Grace Waters for the game-winner. Middlebury now has 14 straight seasons with 19 or more victories. The Panthers end the year with a 20-4-4 mark, while the Falcons finish at 20-7-3. All five goals in Middlebury's semifinal loss to Amherst came on the power play, while all four goals in regulation were also scored on the power play today.

UWRF had a golden opportunity midway through the first period, but the puck slipped off the stick of Ashly Berner as she broke in all alone on Lani Wright. The Panthers had a breakaway of their own later in the period, as Heather McCormack was stopped by a pad save from Melissa Deardofff.

The Falcons took a 1-0 lead at 10:33 with a power play goal. Kayleigh Bell sent the puck in from the left point, before it bounced and found its way to Stefanie Schmitz, who quickly slide a pass to Abby Sunderman for the goal. The Panthers tied the game with a power play tally of their own at the 15:45 mark. Molly Vitt sent the puck in from the right point, before it was tipped by McCormack and finished off on the far side by Julia Ireland. Middlebury turned up offense in the latter part of the period, heading into the locker room with a 15-6 shots advantage.

Ally Foley had a great chance to give UWRF the lead 6:00 into the second period, but was denied on a breakaway by Wright. The Falcons kept battling and took a 2-1 lead at 8:01 as Stefanie Schmitz set up Heather Horgen at the point for a power play goal. UWRF kept up the pressure and sent several shot in on Wright in the next five minutes of play, but the score remained at 2-1. The Falcons kept coming, but Wright stopped a pair of breakaways, including one on Emma Nordness with 1:30 left in the period.

Middlebury tied the game 6:03 into the third period as Molly Vitt took a feed from Annmarie Cellino before roofing a shot from the left face-off circle. The power play goal was the sixth power play tally of the year for Vitt. Middlebury's Maggie Melberg was stopped on a breakaway by Deardorff, before Wright returned the favor on the other end with three straight stellar stops. UWRF had one final chance to win the game in regulation, but a power play that began at 15:10 was not successful. After being outshot 8-3 in the third period, Middlebury ended regulation with a 24-22 shots advantage and held a 28-24 lead advantage in the game. Middlebury's Wright (22 saves) and UWRF's Deardorff (25 saves) were both stellar between the pipes.

Date: March 21, 2009 - 3:30 p.m. Venue: Kenyon Arena - Site: Middlebury, Vt.

TEAM 1 2 3 OT F Wis.-River Falls (20-7-3) 1 1 0 0 2 Middlebury (20-4-4) 1 0 1 1 3

SCORING W-1st (10:33) - PP: Abby Sunderman (Stefanie Schmitz, Lauren Conrad) M-1st (15:45) - PP: Julia Ireland (Heather McCormack, Molly Vitt) W-2nd (8:01) - PP: Heather Horgen (Schmitz, Kayleigh Bell) M-3rd (6:03) - PP: Molly Vitt (Annmarie Cellino, McCormack) M-OT (4:48) - Grace Waters (Heidi Woodworth, Marjie Billings)

GOALTENDING (saves) Melissa Deardorff-W (64:48 min., 25 saves, 3 GA) Lani Wright-M (64:48 min., 22 saves, 2 GA)