Utica, NY- The nationally ranked No. 10 Utica College women’s hockey team suffered a heartbreaking 2-1 overtime loss to No. 4 ranked Middlebury College in non-conference action Tuesday evening at the Utica Memorial Auditorium.
UC moves to 5-4-2 on the season. The Pioneers return to action Saturday as they host Stevenson University. Game time is scheduled for 4 p.m. Middlebury improves to 8-2-1. The Panthers prepare for a big NESCAC series against No. 6 Amherst this weekend.
The first 20 minutes did not contain much action, as each team played tough defensively. The Panthers turned up the pressure in the second stanza, outshooting UC 13-3 over the course of the period. Middlebury was able to get one past Utica net minder Marissa McNamara (Camillus, NY/Lysander Lightning) just 2:29 into the period as junior Katie Mandigo redirected a centering feed from senior Katie Sullivan for her fifth of the year. Despite sustained pressure by the Panther offense, McNamara stood strong, sending the Pioneers into the locker room trailing 1-0.
UC evened the score at 11:36 as senior Louise Steele-Norton (Avondale, PA/Millbrook School) deflected a point shot for her sixth goal of the season. Freshman Allison Buch (Alexandria, VA/Reston Raiders) notched her first career point on the play. Middlebury goalie Marisa Dreher came up big with 5:45 left on the clock as Utica sophomore Gabrielle Schnepp (Northville, MI/Belle Tire) came in on a breakaway, but Dreher turned the shot aside to keep the game tied at 1.
Each team had chances in the overtime, but it was the Panthers who were able to sneak in the winner. Freshman Jessica Young was able to get her stick on a bouncing puck and push in past McNamara for her fifth of the year, assisted by Janka Hlinka.
McNamara made 24 saves in the loss, while Dreher had 14 saves for her first win of the season. Each team was held scoreless on three power-play chances.