Manchester, N.H. (January 23) -- The Saint Anselm women's hockey team fell from the ranks of the unbeaten on Wednesday night with a 4-1 loss to top-ranked Middlebury in non-conference action at Sullivan Arena. The loss snaps Saint Anselm's 18-game unbeaten streak dating back to last season.
At the 13:25 mark of the first period, Middlebury took advantage of a Saint Anselm turnover at the blue line and Erika Nakamura (Boston, Mass.) took it the distance and fired a shot into the upper right corner for a 1-0 lead on the shorthanded score. The goal was Nakamura's eighth of the season and just the second time that Saint Anselm has trailed all season. That was how the opening period ended as the Panthers held a 7-6 advantage on shots on goal in the period.
Nakamura extended the lead to 2-0 just 3:40 into the second period with a goal that was assisted on by Heather McCormack (Rowley, Mass.) and Lacey Farrell (Greenwich, Conn.). Just 4:27 later, Middlebury's Anna McNally (St. Paul, Minn.) used a nifty move in front of the net to slide the puck past Saint Anselm netminder Andrea Berlin (Durham, N.H.) for her team-leading 12th goal of the season and the 3-0 advantage. The Hawks outshot the Panthers by a 14-10 margin in the period, but couldn't get the puck past sophomore goalie Lani Wright (Reading, Mass.), who turned aside 20 shots through the first two periods.
The Hawks got on the board just 1:09 into the third period when Arianna Rigano (Malden, Mass.) took a shot that was redirected off a defender's skate and past Wright to cut the lead to 3-1. The goal is the ninth of the season for Rigano. Bianca DeSantis (Georgetown, Mass.) assisted on the score for the Hawks. Middlebury answered right back though with a power-play score at the six-minute mark as Karen Levin (Morton Grove, Ill.) fired a shot from just inside the blue line and past Berlin for the 4-1 edge. A number of skaters were in front of net to block Berlin's view of the puck as Levin notched her fourth goal of the season.
Wright made 25 saves in the victory, while Berlin turned aside 28 shots and falls to 9-1-0 on the season.
With the loss, the Hawks fall to 14-1-0 on the season, while the Panthers improve to 12-1-2 overall and are now 3-0-0 all-time vs. the Hawks. Saint Anselm is back in action on Friday afternoon as the Hawks host Salve Regina at 4 p.m. at Sullivan Arena.