Ephs conclude tour of Maine with 4-3 win over Bowdoin

Talia Simon '16
Talia Simon '16

BRUNSWICK, ME – Coming off a huge victory last night, the Williams College women's hockey team was back in action this afternoon at Watson Arena. The high-powered Ephs were able to fend off the Bowdoin Polar Bears once again and hold on for a 4-3 victory.

Sophomore forward Michaela Levine (Lititz, PA) scored the game winning, 4th and final goal for the Ephs late in the third period. It was a back and forth battle until two consecutive Williams College goals slowed down the Polar Bears and was enough to earn the Ephs the win.

The sweep this weekend improved Williams to 11-6-1 (8-1-1 NESCAC), while Bowdoin fell to 8-8-2 (3-5-2 NESCAC). 

Bowdoin came out strong in the first period determined to get themselves back in the winning column after last night's loss. As the Polar Bears began to find their offensive rhythm, freshman Marne Gallant (Grosse Pointe Woods, MI) netted the game's first goal just two minutes in. Gallant was set up by teammates Emily Tang (Cambridge, MA) and Mallory Andrews (Sheboygan, WI).

Head coach Meghan Gillis commented, "Bowdoin came out ready to play and took the early lead. We were able to bounce back though, and the biggest thing this afternoon was that we were able to come back from deficits. Everyone kept working and playing well as a team throughout." 

The Ephs were quick to respond after the Gallant goal and evened the score at one thanks to a goal from sophomore Talia Simon (Carlisle, MA), her first collegiate goal. Set up by Caitlin Conlon (Sudbury, MA), Simon made a toe drag move around a Polar Bear forward and took a slap shot low that Bowdoin goalie Lan Crofton (Milton, MA) didn't even see. Simon's goal came at 9:36 and knotted up the contest at 1-1.

Five minutes later, the Ephs notched another one to take their first lead of the afternoon, 2-1. Playing on the powerplay, senior co-captain Cristina Bravi (Montreal, QC) sent in a shot, which her fellow classmate and co-captain Gabby Vukasin (Princeton, NJ) tipped past Crofton to earn a slight 2-1 advantage. 

It looked as if the Ephs would carry their lead into the first intermission, but with under a minute to play, the Polar Bears struck back. At 19:19, Chelsea MacNeil (Moncton, NB) found the back of the net past Eph netminder Charlie Billadeau (Chaska, MN) to even things up. She was aided by the tandem of Rachel Kennedy (Trumbull, CT) and Andrews. 

As time expired in the first period, the teams headed to their locker rooms deadlocked at two goals apiece, with Williams creating 13 shot on goal opportunities to Bowdoin's 9.

It was not until over halfway through the second period that the Polar Bears connected to win back the slight edge, 3-2. Just seconds after a Bowdoin powerplay finished, Kennedy notched her first tally of the night with help from Schuyler Nardelli (Hamilton, NY) and Tang.

Undeterred, the Ephs wasted little time in responding to the Bowdoin goal. With 1:26 to go in the middle period, freshman Hanna Beattie (Whitehouse Station, NJ) took a slap shot from the top of the slot that made its way past Crofton. Bravi collected an assist on the tying goal.

Determined to finish the game strong, Williams was able to net one last goal as Michaela Levine (Lititz, PA) scored what proved to be the game winner for Williams, her 8th of the season. The Ephs spent several minutes in the Bowdoin zone, as Bowdoin struggled to clear the puck, and it resulted in a Levine goal with 7:56 to go. She came down the left side and beat Crofton with a beautiful goal top shelf. The unassisted Levine goal would be enough for Williams to clinch the sweep on the weekend. 

As the Ephs led by only one with minutes remaining, Bowdoin pulled their goalie and replaced her with a 6th skater in attempt to send the game into extra minutes. The Polar Bear's effort was to no avail as the Ephs held on to their one goal lead and finished with a 4-3 victory. 

Billadeau concluded the night with an impressive 25 saves, while Crofton turned away 23 bids.

The Ephs are off until next weekend when they host rival Amherst on Friday night at 7pm. 

"Amherst is another strong team. We just have to keep working hard and playing as a group, and that's been a big part of our success; everyone is competing really hard and working for one another, so we're looking to build on that," commented Gillis.