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Mitch's Sports Report: Middlebury Women's Hockey Falls Short Of Fourth Consecutive NESCAC Title

The Middlebury Panthers are the only division three women's hockey team to have won three NESCAC championships in a row, but the streak will not reach four this year.

The second seeded Panthers were taking on number one Williams College in Massachusetts yesterday, at stake the conference title and an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, and the game was as close as you'd expect from a winner take all one versus two seed, with the Ephs emerging victorious 3-2.

Madie Leidt got the Panthers on the board first with her team-leading eleventh goal of the season but Williams tied the game just a couple of minutes later. The Ephs went up by a goal in the second on a power play strike but the game was evened again when Anna Zumwinkle found the net on a four on three Middlebury power play.

The game stayed knotted at two until Meghan Halloran put in the eventual game winner for Williams midway through the third period, and there was some frustration for Middlebury when an apparent game tying goal with just under a minute left to play was waved off by the refs who conferred after the scramble in front of the net ended with the puck trickling over the line, and that was Middlebury's last hope to force overtime.

So the Panthers see their bid for four NESCAC titles in a row fall short, but still finish another excellent season with a 16-8-3 season.

There was better playoff news for Vermont Technical College as the VTC men's basketball team defeated Penn State Mont Alto 89-73 in the first round of the USCAA Men’s Division 2 Basketball National Championships held in Uniontown, PA. last night.

Jeremiah Shaw led the Green Knights with 21 points and Drake Perry added 18. The Knights also got a huge game from reserve Eric Montanez, who scored 20 off the bench for VTC as they advance to round two with that road win.

To the pro game, and the Boston Celtics, as so many other teams have found, had no answer for James Harden.

Harden is the guy with the big, bushy beard who rains down points on opponents like it's monsoon season. He's scored at least 50 points five times this season, had a run of 32 games in a row scoring at least 30, and last night knocked down 42 in Houston's 115-104 win.

Harden did get some help, with Eric Gordon adding 32 and it was the long ball that really did Boston in, with Harden hitting six three pointers to pad his total before he fouled out in the fourth quarter.

As for the Celtics, they have now lost four out of five since the all-star break and are officially the most confounding team in the NBA, the worst team with the best roster you'll find in the league.

Fans of the LA Lakers may disagree, but the Laker's fade from playoff contention, while surprising given their acquisition of LeBron James, is nowhere near the level of disappointment the Celtics are showing as a team that was one win from the NBA finals last year, has the same roster this season plus two healthy stars that were injured for last year's playoff run, and yet is mired in fifth place in the eastern conference.

Perhaps the Celtics can flip the switch when the playoffs begins, as Kyrie Irving, who scored 24 in the loss last night has suggested, but every team in the east above the Celtics right now would be a good bet to beat them in a seven game series, and it's a mystery as to why.

The Washington Capitals beat the NY Rangers 3-2 in a shootout with Alex Ovechkin scoring the game winner without putting the puck in the net. Ovie is one of the top three players in the world, but how did he do that? Well, it's because Rangers goalie Alexandar Georgiev threw his goalie stick to knock the puck of Ovechkin's, and that's a no-no. In fact, it's an automatic goal and the refs indicated so after a video review to secure the Capital's fourth win in a row.

And finally, the 47th Iditarod dog sled race began Sunday afternoon, where 52 human-canine teams left in two-minute intervals to being a 1,000-mile race across Alaska. The finish line is several days away, in Nome.

A graduate of NYU with a Master's Degree in journalism, Mitch has more than 20 years experience in radio news. He got his start as news director at NYU's college station, and moved on to a news director (and part-time DJ position) for commercial radio station WMVY on Martha's Vineyard. But public radio was where Mitch wanted to be and he eventually moved on to Boston where he worked for six years in a number of different capacities at member station WBUR...as a Senior Producer, Editor, and fill-in co-host of the nationally distributed Here and Now. Mitch has been a guest host of the national NPR sports program "Only A Game". He's also worked as an editor and producer for international news coverage with Monitor Radio in Boston.
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