As we are nearing the home stretch of the NCAA Division III schedule, each game matters more and more and each point makes a difference.
Last weekend was no different.
Top-ranked Elmira swept a home-and-home with Buffalo State, with the first game Friday night causing some minor angst in Soaring Eagles’ town. Brooke Wilgosh’s goal at 16:38 of the third period snapped a 1-1 tie and Elmira hung on for a 2-1 win. On Saturday, Cassidy Delainey scored three goals and added an assist as Elmira won 5-0. Kelcey Crawford made 26 saves for the shutout.
No. 2 Plattsburgh took both games on the road at Cortland, winning 8-3 Saturday and 5-1 on Sunday. Plattsburgh scored three in the first and five in the third Saturday, with all three of Cortland’s goals coming in the second period. Deanna Meunier made 56 saves for Cortland. Sunday, five different players scored and Camille Leonard made 13 saves, losing her shutout on a Niamh O’Connor goal at 10:55 of the third period.
Norwich, ranked third in the nation, lost 2-1 in overtime to No. 4 Middlebury last Tuesday before defeating Franklin Pierce 4-1 on Friday. Katie Mandigo was the OT hero 43 seconds into the extra session on Tuesday for the Panthers. Against Franklin Pierce, Taylor Cross netted a pair of goals.
Middlebury went on to sweep Connecticut College over the weekend with a 4-1 win Friday and a 3-0 shutout Saturday as Madeline Marsh made 31 saves between the pipes. On Friday, Jessica Young posted a goal and two assists.
Just a hunch, but it wouldn’t shock me to see Middlebury and Norwich swap places in this week’s rankings.
No. 5 Adrian may take a tumble in the poll after a 2-2 tie with St. Norbert on Friday and then a 2-1 loss to No. 8 Wisconsin-Stevens Point the following day. The Bulldogs blew a two-goal lead to St. Norbert, who saw goalie Laigh Grall stop 40 shots, and Hannah Smith’s goal midway through the third period stood as the game-winner for Wis.-Stevens Point on Saturday. Adrian goalie Jade Walsh suffered her first loss of the season against the Pointers.
Another weekend sweep saw No. 6 Gustavus Adolphus win both ends of a home-and-home with St. Catherine. In the 4-1 win Friday, Emily Reibert potted two goals and then Saturday, Erica Power scored the game’s lone goal at the 18-minute mark of the third period in a 1-0 win. Goaltender Lindsey Hibbard made 12 saves for the goose egg.
No. 7 Wisconsin-River Falls, continuing a weekend trend, won both in defeating Wisconsin-Superior 5-2 Saturday and then No. 10 Lake Forest Sunday afternoon 1-0. Dani Sibley scored twice for the Falcons Saturday. Dani Kocina’s goal 2:11 into the middle period Sunday was all Wis.-River Falls needed and Angie Hall turned aside all 16 shots she faced between the pipes.
Lake Forest fell to St. Norbert, 4-2 on Saturday. The Foresters tied the game 2-2 in the second period, but surrendered the next two goals.
Prior to beating Adrian, Wis.-Stevens Point knocked off Wisconsin-Eau Claire 4-0 on Friday night, with Janna Beilke-Skoug pitching the 34-save shutout.
No. 9 Amherst blanked Williams in two straight games Friday and Saturday. Yuna Evans made 34 saves Friday and kicked out all 24 shots Saturday.
Marian goalie Amanda Alexander stopped all 24 shots in a 4-0 win over Finlandia Sunday. Amanda Waigand scored twice for the Sabres.
In another high-end goaltending outing, Franklin Pierce’s Shannon O’Neil finished with a 30-save shutout over Holy Cross on Saturday.
The goalie trend continued as Wesleyan’s Corinne Rivard stopped all 34 Hamilton shots Friday in a 2-0 win.