Biddeford, ME – The Williams College Ephs (2-3-0) were back in action this Saturday afternoon to face off against non-conference opponent University of New England (3-4-0). After falling behind 1-0, the Ephs responded in a timely manner and pulled ahead late in the game to secure the victory on the road.
It took nearly 24 minutes of play for either side to get on the board. Despite the Ephs domination in the first period, it was UNE who capitalized first where a deflected puck led to a shorthanded goal.
Williams dominated offensively throughout the opening frame, outshooting UNE 14-3, with seven of those shots coming on the powerplay. Despite being plagued by penalties early on, UNE netminder, Samantha Scobee (Minnetrista, MN), backed by a strong penalty kill unit, managed to fight off the offensive tirade.
UNE's three shots would not prove to be threatening, leaving the contest deadlocked at 0 headed into the first intermission.
"We definitely dominated the first period. We outshot them 14-3, had lots of chances and looks, but just weren't able to find the back of the net," commented head coach Meghan Gillis.
Failing to generate any sort of offensive momentum throughout the first, UNE made up for lost ground within the first minutes of the middle frame. Playing shorthanded, UNE registered the first goal of the afternoon 3:58 into the frame.
A five-minute major shortly after the UNE tally gave Williams a chance to even things out. They once again failed to penetrate the UNE penalty killing unit, but would continue pressing throughout the middle frame and were eventually rewarded for their persistence.
The Ephs shot on goal advantage paid dividends just before the close of the 2nd. With 1:11 remaining Hadley DesMeules (North Pomfret, VT) notched the first Williams goal, her second of the season. DesMeules' goal from the point came from a D-to-D pass from Ashley Arnold (Boxborough, MA) that started in the corner from Chelsey Stevenson (Tilbury, Ontario). A low shot on the ice screened by Gabby Vukasin (Princeton, NJ) left the puck hanging out in front, which DesMeules was waiting for and slid by Scobee.
After a lopsided shot count at the close of the first 40 minutes, the final frame opened with more back-and-forth play. It wasn't until over halfway through the period when the Ephs separated from UNE and found their offensive groove.
Scobee was forced to come up with big save after big save as the Ephs kept the pressure on, but it was only a matter of time before Williams would start finding the back of the net. Senior foreward Vukasin began the series of goals with 5:33 to go in regulation, set up by a backdoor pass from Gwendolyn Schultz (Wallingford, CT). Vukasin sent it past Scobee to give the Ephs their first lead of the day. Stevenson was also credited with an assist.
Williams took the Vukasin goal and ran with it, tacking on another one 36 seconds later. The tandem of Michaela Levine (Litiz, PA) and Cristina Bravi (Montreal, QC) found teammate Hanna Beattie (Whitehouse Station, NJ) in front of the net. With Bravi and Beattie on a 2-on-0, senior captain Bravi hit the post and followed it up to get the puck back to Beattie who scored the game winner top corner.
The back-to-back Eph goals forced UNE to call a timeout in hopes of generating a comeback campaign, but the relentless Ephs refused to let UNE back into the game. With 3:26 to go, Emily Krueger (Manasquan, NJ) buried a lose puck in front of the net for her first collegiate goal. Levine and Bravi helped out on the fourth and final Williams goal.
Jenni Poulin of UNE would collect a goal with 3 seconds remaining in regulation, but it would not be enough for the home team, and the Ephs would take home their first road win, 4-2.
Scobee made 55 saves in an impressive effort to keep her team in the game. Nguyen, who did a great job stepping in for her first game of the season, turned away 14 shots.
"We still need to work on our offensive part of the game and capitalize on our chances earlier instead of waiting for the third period, and I think that will continue to come with time. We have three more non-conference games before break to keep working on that against some very challenging opponents," reflected Gillis.
With today's win, Williams improves to 2-3-0 on the season, with a 1-1-0 record within the NESCAC. Williams will return to action tomorrow night at 7pm in a non-conference tilt against Castleton.