Women's hockey blanks No. 2 Middlebury for NESCAC win at Sage Rink

Missy Segall '21 (Josh McKee photo)
Missy Segall '21 (Josh McKee photo)

Hamilton College's Missy Segall '21 scored twice and Sidney Molnar '22 made 29 saves in the Continentals' 2-0 NESCAC win over the Middlebury College Panthers at Hamilton's Russell Sage Rink on Friday night.

The Continentals (11-6-0, 5-4 NESCAC) continued their recent hot streak as they won their fifth game in a row and seventh in their last eight. Hamilton posted its third shutout this season and its second in three contests. The Continentals blanked Middlebury for just the second time in 48 all-time meetings.

The nationally ranked No. 2 Panthers (12-2-2, 7-1-1) were shut out for the first time this season and their only other loss was at No. 1 SUNY Plattsburgh. Middlebury held a 29-20 shot advantage and Lin Han made 18 saves.

Segall leads Hamilton and is tied for sixth in the NESCAC with seven goals. She posted her second multi-goal game this season just three days after not playing in the Continentals' 2-1 victory at SUNY Oswego. Kate Piacenza '21 picked up her seventh and eighth assists and defender Emily Walther '21 was credited with her third. Molnar has a 1.57 goals against average and .932 save percentage. Maddie Hong '23 won 10 of 11 faceoffs.

Both teams put nine shots on goal in a scoreless first period and it seemed Hamilton and the Panthers were going to head into the second intermission with nothing on the scoreboard as well. Segall and Piacenza changed all that late in the second as Segall gained possession of the puck near the left-side boards in the Continentals' offensive zone. She passed to Piacenza behind the net and skated to the slot. Piacenza centered a pass right back to Segall for a one-timer that tumbled over the goal line after Han managed to get a piece of it with 3:15 left.

Middlebury nearly tied the score a little more than 6:30 into the third period. Madie Leidt drove to the net from the right wing on a rush into the zone and put a shot on goal that Molnar stopped but couldn't control. The rebound trickled into the slot where Katie Hargrave whacked it off the crossbar.

The Panthers had another great chance with 2:28 remaining when a Hamilton player was sent to the penalty box for tripping, but instead it was the Continentals who found the back of the net. Middlebury turned the puck over in their defensive zone and Piacenza controlled it before sliding a pass to Segall. Her wrist shot from the bottom of the right faceoff circle squeezed under Han's pads and into the net with 1:06 to go for Hamilton's first short-handed goal since the 2017-18 season.

The Panthers pulled Han for an extra skater and a 6-on-4 advantage with a little less than a minute to go. Middlebury put two shots on Molnar while it still was on the power play and she turned both of them away. The Panthers took one more shot from close range on a partial breakaway in the closing seconds, but Molnar clinched the shutout by getting a glove on the puck and deflecting it over the net.

The two teams play again at Sage Rink on Saturday, Feb. 1 at 3 p.m.