March 19 2016
In the final game of the 2015-16 season, the fifth-ranked Elmira College women's ice hockey team flew past fourth-ranked Middlebury College, 4-1, to claim the NCAA Division III Third-Place trophy. The Soaring Eagles conclude their season with 23-5-1 overall record.
It only took 14 seconds for the game's first goal to be scored, thankfully that goal from the blade of Elmira's Maddy Jerolman '19. Jerolman was the beneficiary of a quick break, led by Louisa Lippiatt Durnell '18. Lippiatt Durnell carried the puck along the right side boards before sending it into the slot, where Olivia Nystrom '16 redirected a shot on target. The attempt was initially saved, but Jerolman was there to clean up the loose puck and score her 11th of the season.
Elmira's lead did not stand for long though, as Middlebury's Jenn Marotta scored on the power play to even things at 1-1 at the 3:57 mark of the first period.
The game remained deadlocked at one apiece for nearly 10 minutes until Katie Granato '19 scored her 11th of the year to reclaim EC's one-goal lead. The scoring play began with a shot from Nystrom that caromed off the pads of Marisa Dreher and into the high slot in a sea of gold and blue jerseys. Granato would win the fight for the puck and bury it past Dreher through traffic for the score at the 14:38 mark. Granato's goal held up through the end of the period, as EC skated into the first intermission with a 2-1 lead.
Captain Johanna Eidesten '17 increased the Elmira lead to 3-1 4:37 into the second period, as the Swedish national scored her ninth of the season. After receiving passes from Nystrom and Granato, Eidensten split a pair of defenders at the left faceoff circle and proceeded to make her way into the high slot. From there she backhanded a shot, beating a screened Dreher far post for the score. Nystrom and Granato were both credited with assists on the scoring play.
Trailing by two goals, Middlebury upped the pressure on the forecheck, which allowed the Panthers to outshoot EC 9-to-5 in the period. However, Kyle Nelson '17 proved to be too much between the pipes, as the third-year netminder made nine of her game's 24 saves to hold Middlebury scoreless and preserve Elmira's 3-1 lead.
Elmira maintained its intensity throughout the third period, but would give the Panthers two power-play chances in the final frame. Middlebury put four shots on target during their power-play shifts, but Nelson, along with her penalty-kill unit, answered the challenge by holding the Panthers scoreless on both attempts.
With the game coming to a close, Middlebury pulled its goalie for hopes of a late comeback; however, third-year forward Jessica Prance '17 tallied an empty-netter to put the game out of reach. Meghan Fonfara '18 was credited with an assist on the goal, as Elmira skated away with a three-goal win and the NCAA Third-Place trophy.