HARTFORD, CT – The Williams College women's hockey team took to the ice this afternoon looking to shut out NESCAC foe Trinity College in the mini two-game series. They did just that, downing the Bantams for the second straight day, 5-3.
Behind goals from five different Ephs and a strong effort in goal by Charlie Billadeau (Chaska, MN) the Ephs claimed a critical victory, improving their record to 5-5-0 (4-1 NESCAC). Andree Heller (Toronto, ON) and senior co-captain Cristina Bravi (Montreal, QC) both registered a goal, their second in two nights.
Picking up where they left off last night, the Ephs jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead thanks to a goal from junior Perry McCarthy (Princeton, NJ) 2:14 after the puck dropped. She was set up by the tandem of Heller and Natalie Bernstein (Kenilworth, IL).
"The line of Heller, Bernstein and McCarthy played great today," commented head coach Meghan Gillis. "They scored the first and second goals for us and helped set the tone for the team."
The Ephs would hold the slight 1-0 advantage for about 10 minutes before the Bantams evened things up. Freshman Brooke Heron (South Salem, NY) sent one past Billadeau for the home team's first goal of the conference series. Set up by teammates Alessandra Bravi (Montreal, QC) and Lili Gacicia (Milton, MA), Heron took advantage of a fast break opportunity to knot up the contest at 1.
Both sides continued to battle throughout the opening frame. Trinity nearly gained their first lead of the afternoon when Lucy Robinson (Toronto, ON) made a nifty move to get by two Eph defenders and sent one towards Billadeau. The puck hit the pipe however, and the first period would come to a close deadlocked at 1.
It was a busy second period, featuring aggressive battling from both sides, but it was Williams who took a 3-2 lead into the second intermission.
As Gillis remarked, Williams would not be deterred, and regained their lead at the 5:22 mark. A Trinity line change error proved to be costly. As Bantam defensemen came off the ice, Williams charged down and caught the home team off guard. Bernstein set up teammate Heller, who found the back of the net to put the Ephs up 2-1.
It appeared to be an all-Williams frame as they continued dominating the boards, until Trinity was finally able to string together an effective offensive possession. Gacicia ripped a shot, which Lauren Fitzgerald (Milton, MA) deflected past Billadeau. Abby Ostrom (Carlisle, MA) also picked up an assist.
With 3:18 remaining in the middle frame, the Ephs stole the lead once again, thanks to great stick work from freshman Hanna Beattie (Whitehouse Station, NJ). Beattie beat multiple Trinity defenders before sending the puck home and giving her team a surge of positive energy and a lead heading into the locker room.
Williams used that positive energy to put another tally on the board early in the final period when Emily Krueger (Manasquan, NJ), set up by Chelsey Stevenson (Tilbury, ON), scored on the powerplay. Krueger's goal came at the 5:03 mark.
Trinity refused to go away, and was able to score a third goal to shorten the lead to 4-3 with just over 12 minutes to play. The Bantam goal came from Cheeky Herr (Princeton, NJ), who was aided by Fitzgerald.
Trinity pulled Pujol with just over a minute to go, fighting to take the contest into overtime. A Bravi open net goal from end to end would put the game out of reach for the Bantams however, and solidify the Eph victory, 5-3.
The Ephs take the ice again Tuesday at 7pm in Lansing Chapman Rink. Facing top ranked Plattsburgh State, Gillis and her team look forward to the opportunity. "Plattsburgh is clearly ranked as the number 1 team in the country, so it's definitely a challenge, but playing teams like that is what is going to make us better, and we're going to continue to build on what we were working on this weekend."