BRUNSWICK, Maine – Emily Fluke scored a pair of goals as the Middlebury College women's ice hockey team snapped Bowdoin's 14-game unbeaten streak in a 4-2 victory Saturday at Watson Arena.
The fourth ranked Panthers improve to 10-2-2 (7-1-2 NESCAC) after the win. The Polar Bears (13-2-1, 7-1-0 NESCAC) drop their first game since opening night (November 17) as the teams split their two-game weekend set.
Despite both teams trading puck possession during the opening period, neither team was able to convert on any of the 13 shots taken.
Middlebury broke open the scoring at 9:24 into the second stanza. After several minutes of strong play in Bowdoin's defensive end, the Panthers capitalized on clean passes to spread the defense and create space. Madison Styrbicki and Hannah Bielawski. connected with a couple of passes and dished to Lauren Greer in the high slot. Bowdoin goalie Kayla Lessard dropped to the ice but was to late to block Greer's shot, putting Middlebury on top 1-0. Middlebury took less than two minutes before doubling its lead to 2-0. Emily Fluke controlled the puck around Bowdoin's right post before nimbly pushing the puck around Lessard and into the opposite side.
With only 1:20 remaining Bowdoin was able to cut the Panthers' lead by one. Colleen Finnerty and Stephanie Ludy offered a couple of initial bids that were denied by Middlebury's goalie Laura Pinsent. Rachel Kennedy recovered the rebound and wristed a shot from the right post to answer, ending the half with Middlebury leading 2-1.
Bowdoin wasted no time before tying the game at 2-2 just 57 seconds into the third period. Kennedy took the puck from center ice, beating three defenders, and bested Pinsent with another wrist shot to the right post. Middlebury regained its lead at 4:06. Fluke cleanly picked off a Bowdoin clear and turned the puck back on the Polar Bears' net. The slap shot sailed over Lessard's right shoulder and put Middlebury up 3-2. The Panthers added to their lead at 11:02 with an insurance goal from Bielawski. Lessard made the initial stop on the play, but lost site of the puck under her pads. Bielawski located the uncovered puck and poked it in from the right post. Bowdoin pulled its goalie during the final minutes of play, but was unable to convert.
Lessard made 27 saves in net for the Polar Bears. Pinsent made 20 saves for the Panthers.
The Polar Bears will be back on the ice when they visit Williams for a pair of games starting January 25 at 7:00 PM. Middlebury will host Hamilton that same weekend.