WILLIAMSTOWN, MA – The Williams College women's hockey team hosted conference rival Amherst Friday evening in a crucial NESCAC match up, looking to defeat the Lord Jeffs for the first time since 2006. Both teams sported pink accents in support of those affected by breast cancer.
Amherst entered tonight's game ranked third in the NESCAC, while the Ephs sat slightly above, ranked two, thanks to a sweep at Bowdoin last weekend. Despite carrying such strong momentum into tonight's came from the Bowdoin series, the Ephs could not contain the Amherst offense, falling 6-2.
After two closely contested periods, the away team pulled ahead in the final frame with three unanswered goals.
The Lord Jeffs struck first, registering a goal after 5:25 of play. Freshman Lynndy Smith (Glendale, AZ) got a shot off which Eph netminder Margaret Draper (Belmont, MA) blocked, but Courtney Baranek (West Babylon, NY) collected the rebound and slid it past Draper to earn her team an early 1-0 lead. Caitlyn Ryan (Burlington, MA) was also credited with an assist.
While both sides saw scoring opportunities throughout the remainder of the frame, neither would be able to capitalize. Amherst headed into the locker room with 16 shots, to Williams' 10, and a slight 1-0 lead.
The Ephs came out firing in the middle frame and evened things out at the 16:17 mark with a beautiful goal from senior co-captain Cristina Bravi (Montreal, QC). She received a pass from fellow classmate and co-captain, Gabby Vukasin (Montreal, QC), and with her back to the goal she spun and took a quick backhander that fooled Amherst goalie Kerri Stuart (Tewksbury, MA) and slid between her pads. Freshman Hanna Beattie (Whitehouse Station, NJ) also aided on the equalizer.
Undeterred, Amherst was quick to regain their lead. Just over three minutes later, Erin Martin (Canton, MA) registered an unassisted goal when she walked through the middle of the slot, pump faked and shot against the grain to beat Draper on her blocker side.
The Lord Jeffs upped their lead once again and took a comfortable 3-1 advantage a couple of minutes later. Sara Culhane (Titusville, NJ) received a pass from Barrett McBride (Glenview, IL), skated in on the left wing and took a quick wrist shot that beat Draper over her left shoulder.
Eph penalties in the final period proved to be costly, as the Lord Jeffs would score back-to-back goals, both coming on the powe rplay. The first came from Smith, set up by Baranek with 12:04 to play. Two minutes later, Smith was back in on the action and set up teammate Emily Flom (Grosse Point Farms, MI), who sent one home to give Amherst a 5-2 lead.
The relentless Amherst offense continued to penetrate and put the game out of reach when they notched their sixth goal of the evening. Camille Herzog (Eau Claire, WI) sent in a shot from just in front of the blue line, which Culhane redirected by Draper for her second goal of the night. Audrey Duquette (Alexandria, VA) collected an assist on the play.
With 4:28 to go, the Ephs called a timeout to regroup from the quick succession of Amherst goals. They could not generate a comeback effort, and the score would remain at 6-2.
Stuart concluded the night with 29 saves in goal, while Draper turned away 30 bids.
The Ephs look to earn a split on the series tomorrow, when they face off against archrival once again. The puck drops in Lansing Chapman Rink at 3pm.
Eph head coach Meghan Gillis looks ahead to tomorrows contest, stating, "We look to gain some momentum, gain some offensive pressure, use the power play chances to our advantage and play well as a team for 60 minutes."