HARTFORD, CT – The first game of the New Year featured great goaltending and hard-fought play from the traveling Williams College Ephs, who collected a win over NESCAC foe Trinity College to improve to 4-5-0. With the loss, the Trinity Bantams fell to 4-4-3.
After nearly twenty minutes of scoreless play to start the game, forward Cristina Bravi (Montreal, QC) broke the ice with a sharp shot to give the Ephs a 1-0 advantage. She got an outlet pass in the D-zone from Andree Heller (Toronto, ON) and then beat a Bantam defender wide before cutting in and putting the puck top corner on netminder Kristin Maxwell (Nashville, TN). Teammate Talia Simon (Carlisle, MA) added an assist on the goal. The first goal of the evening, coming at 16:12, would be the senior captain's 7th goal of the season.
After nearly a month off from competitive game action due to the winter holidays, it came as no surprise that both sides struggled to find a rhythm in the game's early minutes. However, as the first period progressed, the Ephs generated momentum and settled into an offensive rhythm.
The Ephs skated into the locker room with a slight 11-9 shot on goal advantage.
The Heller goal would be the last of the game, finalizing the score at 2-0.
The Ephs posted an impressive 21 shots on goal during the middle frame, establishing an offensive presence and keeping Maxwell busy between the pipes.
Trinity looked to stage a comeback headed into the final 20 minutes of play, but Charlie Billadeau (Chaska, MN) and a strong Eph defense remained relentless. Head coach Meghan Gillis commented, "Trinity definitely pushed back hard and competed, and they had some quality chances in the third, but Billadeau came up big and made some great saves."
Additionally, the Eph penalty kill unit fought off a late penalty and multiple golden opportunities for the home team, including a great effort by junior Perry McCarthy (Princeton, NJ) to block a Bantam shot and keep the score 2-0 in Williams' favor.
Billadeau finished the night with 22 saves on 22 shots to secure a shutout, while counterpart, Maxwell, stopped 41 of the Eph's 43 shots in 60 minutes of play.
Pleased with her team's hard work over the extended break and their execution tonight, Gillis stated, "We talked a lot about improving on our D-zone and being better in the D-zone, and obviously we did a better job of that tonight, getting a shut out. We also talked about doing a good job offensively and trying to find screens and get pucks to the net, and we did a good job of that tonight."
The Ephs will return to the Koeppel Community Sports Center tomorrow afternoon to complete the mini conference series against the Bantams. The puck drops at 4pm.