WILLIAMSTOWN, MA – The Williams College Ephs improved their record (12-8-3) once again this evening with a 5-2 defeat over NESCAC opponent Connecticut College (9-11-3). Tonight's victory made it 12 wins for the season, the most wins in a season since 2009-2010 when the Ephs finished 12-11-2.
After a scoreless opening frame, there was no shortage of goals or penalties in the latter 40 minutes of play. The game seesawed back and forth until the third period, when two quick goals put the Ephs on top 4-2. Freshman Hannah Beattie (Whitehouse Station, NJ) rounded out the scoring with an empty net goal and finalized the score at 5-2.
Williams never trailed in the contest and took a 2-1 lead into the final period, where a solid defensive effort and some timely saves from netminder Charlie Billadeau (Chaska, MN) held off a threatening Conn attack.
The first penalty of the evening came at the 16:43 mark and set the Ephs up to tack on an early goal. The Camels did a solid job of clearing the puck however, and killed the penalty efficiently.
Although they had no goals to show for it, Williams controlled the puck throughout the first session, outshooting the Camels 16-4.
Undeterred, the Camels responded in a timely manner, registering their first goal of the evening seven minutes after the McCarthy goal. Olivia Farrell (New York, NY), set up by teammate Jane Pagano (Erie, PA), notched the game-tier at 11:07.
An Eph penalty coming shortly after the goal gave the Camels an opportunity to take their first lead of the night. The Eph penalty kill unit and Billadeau refused to let that happen, and the game would remain even at 1-1 until the final seconds of the period.
With one minute remaining, the Eph offense peppered Fralick with shots. She stayed strong between the pipes and made several saves, but could not answer Hanna Beattie's (Whitehouse Station, NJ) shot with 3.4 seconds to go. The tandem of Caitlin Conlon (Sudbury, MA) and Cristina Bravi (Montreal, QC) helped out on the play. Bravi collected a rebound and sent it to the point, where Beattie took a high wrister that beat Fralick.
Head coach Meghan Gillis commented on the critical Beattie goal, stating, "I think the goal at the end of the 2nd to put us up 2-1 helped us to gain momentum as we headed into the third period."
Williams outshot the Camels once again, 8-5, and skated into the locker room with a slight 2-1 lead.
Conn College refused to go away quietly, and would knot up the contest 2:41 into the final frame on a powerplay opportunity. The Camel offense tested Billadeau several times and hit the crossbar on one opportunity before finding the back of the net, thanks to a goal coming from Ashley Anctil (Manchester, NH). Cassie Hunter (Gilford, NH) ripped a shot, and Anctil jumped quickly on the rebound and sent it past Billadeau to even things up at 2.
A little over three minutes later, the Ephs responded on a powerplay chance of their own, this one coming from senior co-captain Gabby Vukasin (Princeton, NJ), who tipped it past Fralick off of a pass from classmate and co-captain Bravi.
Building off the momentum created by the Vukasin goal, the Ephs upped their lead by two with 9:50 remaining. Emily Krueger (Manasquan, NJ) and Bravi set up Michaela Levine (Lititz, PA) who registered a beautiful top shelf goal to give the Ephs a lead that they would protect until the final buzzer sounded.
Conn put the pressure on Billadeau with a number of shots in the final minutes of the period. Playing on the powerplay, they pulled Fralick to gain an extra attacker, but to no avail. Beattie would collect her second goal of the evening, finding the empty net with 3:08 to go. Assisted by Heller and Talia Simon (Carlisle, MA), Beattie's insurance goal would finalize the game at 5-2.
Billadeau finished the evening with 15 impressive saves, while counterpart Fralick turned away 28 Eph bids.
Pleased with Billadeau's performance in goal and the penality kill unit's ability to fend off some crucial penalties late in the game, Gillis stated, "Charlie and the penalty kill did a great job of working together tonight. Charlie did a great job of coming out and being big to stop the shot, and the penalty kill did a great job of picking up sticks and coming back to the net to help clear away any shots."
The Camels and Ephs return to Lansing Chapman Rink tomorrow afternoon at 3pm for the last regular season game.
Gillis looks forward to the match up, stating, "Obviously, Conn is a tough opponent who will be coming back prepared to play tomorrow. We're going to be focused on making sure that we keep building on what we did in the third period tonight thorughout tomorrow's game."