WILLIAMSTOWN, MA -- Looking to bounce back from last night's loss, the Ephs took their time finding a rhythm before exploding in the final frame and posting six goals. The victory earned them a split on the series against conference foe Wesleyan and their first win of the 2013-2014 season.
After 35 minutes of scoreless play, the Cardinals struck first on a penalty shot. They would extend their lead in the opening minutes of the final frame, but it was an all-Eph show from then on.
The six goals came from six different Ephs. Hannah Beattie's (Whitehouse Station, NJ) tally at 3:48 into the 3rd started off the offensive tirade, and the Ephs did not look back, seeing goals from Cristina Bravi (Montreal, QC), Caitlin Conlon (Sudbury, MA), Michaela Levine (Lititz, PA), Andree Heller (Toronto, ON) and Caitlin Buckley (Mahopac, NY).
The scoreless opening frame did not go without chances for both sides, with each team seeing a 5-on-3 opportunity.
It was Williams who stole the momentum first, taking advantage of over four minutes of man-up play to test Corinne Rivard (Glendale, AZ) between the pipes early on. Aided by a solid penalty kill unit however, Rivard fended off everything that came her way.
The Ephs would continue to keep the pressure on, and had one of their best scoring chances of the 1st period a little over midway through the frame. Freshman Eph forward Emily Krueger (Manasquan, NJ) got a great shot off and corralled the rebound for a second chance. Rivard's save left the puck in front of the goal, but there was no Eph available to tap it home.
Williams posted 12 shots to Wesleyan's 8 after the first 20 minutes of play.
Headed into the middle frame, the Ephs continued to build upon their shot advantage. 4 minutes into the period, Bravi had a 1-on-1 with the goalie to break the tie, but Rivard held off the attack, leaving the contest deadlocked at 0.
The tables would turn shortly after Bravi's attempt however, as a series of Eph penalties put the Cardinals on the attack.
With 4:22 to go in the frame, Jessica Brennan (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) got tripped on her break away attempt, setting up a penalty shot. She pulled a spin-o-rama and slid the puck through Eph netminder Charlie Billadeau's (Chaska, MN) legs to give the Cardinals a slight 1-0 edge headed into the second intermission.
In similar fashion to last night, the shot advantage would not reflect the score, as the Cardinals made sure to take advantage of their opportunities when they arose. Despite skating into the locker room with 24 shots on goal to Wesleyan's 15, Williams found themselves down 1-0.
Opening the final frame, Wesleyan would have a chance to build a two-goal lead, as they acquired their third 5-on-3 on the afternoon. After making a nifty stick save, Billadeau couldn't continue to fend off the attack. Abigail Rutt (Scarborough, ME) took a quick slap shot off the rebound of Cara Jancowski's (Elkins, NH) shot, sending the puck over the left shoulder of Billadeau to increase their lead, 2-0. Brennan also picked up an assist on the play, which came at the 1:10 mark.
The 2-0 lead would be short lived, as the Ephs rebounded in a timely fashion. Two minutes after Wesleyan's second goal, Beattie notched the Ephs first goal on the afternoon and her first collegiate goal, skipping the puck over the Rivard's pad. She was aided by the pair of Conlon and Gabrielle Vukasin (Princeton, NJ). The powerplay goal came at the 3:48 mark.
1:46 after Beattie's tally, Bravi knotted up the contest at 2 apiece, set up by teammates Krueger and Chelsey Stevenson (Tilbury, Ontario). The Eph offense remained relentless, tacking on their third goal in four minutes to take their first lead of the afternoon. With 12:24 to go, Heller set up Conlon, who skated in from the right point undefended and put a hard wrist shot by Rivard. Conlon's game winning goal was the first of her collegiate career.
The Ephs would put the game out of reach for the Cardinals with their fourth goal of the period coming with 3:45 remaining. Levine took a wrist shot from the left side, sending the puck by Rivard and into the top left part of the net. Conlon and Beattie collected assists on the play.
In an attempt to stage a comeback, the Cardinals pulled Rivard with a little under two minutes to go, but to no avail. Heller would extend the Ephs lead to 5-2 with an unassisted empty net goal with 1:39 to play.
Commenting on the difference maker between last nights loss and this afternoon's convincing victory, head coach Meghan Gillis stated, "I think obviously the difference was we put the puck in the back of the net. We had a lot of similar chances that we had last night, but today we were really able to put some loose pucks in the back of the net."
Gillis also commended the penalty kill unit, who fought off two 5-on-3 situations this afternoon: "The four PKers – Perry McCarthy, Andree Heller, Gwen Schultz and Eliza Noyes – all stepped in and killed key minutes so that we could get a chance to win."
Rivard recorded 32 saves on the afternoon, and Billadeau turned away 18 shots.
The Ephs will hit the road next weekend, facing Utica and then last year's National Champions, Elmira.