Women’s Hockey Upsets No. 3 Middlebury — Twice
The No. 11-ranked women’s hockey team traveled to Middlebury for their second NESCAC series of the season this past weekend. The Mammoths returned from Vermont with two wins, having handed the No. 3 Panthers their first two losses of the 2022-23 season by identical 4-2 scorelines.
After a scorching start to the season in which they went 3-1 and opened their NESCAC season with a win, the women’s hockey team traveled to Middlebury, Vermont this weekend for a two-game road series against the Panthers. Ranked No. 11 in the country heading into a bout with the reigning national champion, the Mammoths were undeterred, handing the Panthers their first loss of the season and snapping their 21-game home winning streak on Friday, Dec. 2 before taking the second game by the same scoreline on Saturday, Dec. 3.
Amherst didn’t seem daunted by their opponent’s reputation, as they came out of the locker room firing in the first game of the weekend. But, after a flurry of opportunities in front of the Middlebury net, a penalty looked like it might swing the momentum in the Panthers’ favor. However, the Mammoth penalty kill, which had already notched two shorthanded goals this season, put in a repeat performance. After a clearance out of Amherst’s defensive zone made its way to the Midd netminder, she misplayed the puck directly into the path of a forechecking Maeve Reynolds ’26, who one-timed the puck into the goal to give the away side a 1-0 lead after one period of play.
While the Panthers tied the game early in the second, the Mammoths seemed to have the better of the opportunities throughout the contest, with the Panther’s backstop making save after save to keep her team in it — Mammoth goalie Natalie Stott ’26 only made 10 saves in the contest, compared to 27 from her counterpart. However, the Panthers would eventually capitalize on that stellar backstopping, taking a 2-1 lead four minutes into the final period. Yet, it was then that the Mammoths’ many scoring chances finally turned into goals. Less than two minutes after the Panthers’ second goal, a two-on-one opportunity saw Reynolds lay the puck off to Carley Daly ’23, who drew a defender and then returned the favor back to her first-year teammate to set Reynolds up for her second goal of the game, knotting the score at 2-2.
Amherst took the lead soon after. A shot by Alyssa Xu ’25 was not handled cleanly by the Panthers’ goalie, and the rebound slid out to Alejandra Ubarri ’26, who sent a one-timer on net. Junior Ellie DeCarlo ’24 redirected the shot into the net to score her first goal of the season, one that eventually stood as the game-winner. Daly scored an empty-net goal with just over a minute to go to ice the game, and the Mammoths took the 4-2 win.
A repeat performance looked unlikely early in game two on Saturday, as Midd scored twice to open up a 2-0 lead after only five minutes of play. With so much hockey left to go, and the shock to their system received, the Mammoths rebounded beautifully, however, scoring twice in the final five minutes of the same period to tie the game. The first goal came courtesy of Jayna Park ’24, who scored a rebound off a shot from classmate Mary Thompson ’24 at the 16:04 mark to cut the lead in half. Just over 90 seconds later, Xu collected the puck off the boards and passed to Rylee Glennon ’24 behind the net. Calmly looking up and considering her options, Glennon found Anna Baxter ’25 crashing the net to tap in goal number two and tie the game.
With the scoring flurry out of the way, the Mammoths seemed to settle into the game: They again outshot the Panthers by a significant margin on Saturday, peppering their goaltender with efforts from all over the ice. The game-winner looked inevitable.
The Mammoths grabbed that momentum and eventually converted. This time, it was Daly who netted the game winner off a Mammoth rush. After picking up the puck in her own defensive zone, Daly deftly wove between two Panther defenders before leaving the puck for Kate Pohl ’23. Pohl sent the puck back to Daly in the slot, and she netted with five minutes to go in the second period to take the lead, 3-2, with five minutes to play. Daly scored two goals and recorded one assist in two games, and was named NESCAC Player of the Week for her performance in this weekend’s series.
And just like in their last game, the Mammoths got the insurance goal they desired only a few minutes later. After just three minutes of the final period had elapsed, game-one-hero DeCarlo got her second of the weekend on another close-range effort to extend the lead to two. Amherst defended that lead for 14 minutes before the Panthers were awarded a penalty shot after a delay of game call with a minute and a half to go. But their first-year netminder stood tall, making the save on the play to keep the lead at two and shut the door on Midd for good. The Mammoths had downed the Panthers 4-2 for the second time in two days.
Their two wins this weekend boost an already impressive early-season resumé. The win on Friday was their first against the Panthers since the 2019-20 NESCAC Championship Game, and snapped their opponents’ 21-game home winning streak. And, Saturday’s victory marked the first time since the 2008-09 season that the Mammoths had beaten the Panthers twice in the same season.
Of their weekend, DeCarlo said, “I think we proved just how strong our program is, and how hard we as a team have been working these last couple weeks [sic]. It’s easy to be intimidated by the record Midd held, but we came out ready to go, and I think we took them by surprise. This weekend showed the potential our team has both skill- and culture-wise, especially during the second game when we came back from being down 2-0 after the first 10 minutes. We have an awesome group of girls, and it’s such an amazing feeling being a part of it.”
The Mammoths will return to action on Friday, Dec. 9, on the road against Johnson and Wales University. They will then return to Orr Rink to play Curry College on Saturday, Dec. 10. Puck drop for the first game is scheduled for 7 p.m.