WILLIAMSTOWN, MA - The Williams College Women's Hockey Team followed up last night's non-conference game against Utica this afternoon with another non-conference game versus Castleton State. Though the Ephs out-shot the Spartans 32 to 21, they were unable to come back from a Castleton power play goal in the first period at 16:35. Williams is now (1-3-0) for the season and Castleton State is (6-3-1).
The first period of the game began with fast-paced play up and down the ice. When Castleton forward Rachel Bombardier received a penalty at (time), the Ephs offence put pressure on Castleton's goalie, junior Jess Cameron, early on and had multiple scrambles in front of the net. However, the Spartan goalie stayed tough throughout the period deflecting Williams' shots into the corners.
In her collegiate debut, freshmen Williams goalie Christina Cleroux had a solid first period as well, making a diving save with 8:11 minutes to go in the period after she got caught behind the net. Despite Williams defense's best efforts, the Spartans were able to capitalize on a power play at 16:35 when Castleton's top scorer of the season, junior Taylor Steadman, flipped the puck over Cleroux's glove after commotion in front of the Williams net. With a Castleton 1-0 lead over Williams, the goal fired up both teams and the remaining 3:24 minutes of play featured physical play from the Ephs and Spartans.
Williams came out firing in the second stanza with good digs and more shots on net. Cameron carried over her strong goaltending from the first period and stayed big between the posts, killing a Williams power play at 14:51. Although the Ephs had many good scoring opportunities on the power play, they weren't able to get the puck past the red line. With 5 seconds remaining in the period the Williams team pulled their goalie in a last effort to even the scoreboard but were unsuccessful as Castleton's defense kept the puck deep in the corner.
"Christina did a great job in her first NCAA debut keeping our team right in the game," reflected Williams head coach Meghan Gillis. It was certainly true at the beginning of the final period when Cleroux made a glove save early on. Her solid goaltending gave the Williams offensive line momentum and with a Castleton penalty on freshmen Candace Seguin at 4:23, the Ephs did a good job keeping the puck in the Spartan zone.
Williams senior Gwen Schultz had a breakaway at 7:48 minutes into the stanza, but Cameron continued her consistent play from the previous periods and had a big presence in net to stop the shot.
With 35 seconds remaining in the game, the Ephs pulled their goalie but were unable to even the score.
"We had many opportunities but just couldn't convert," said coach Gillis, "I am looking forward to next weekend with two more non-conference games so we can continue building on our effort this afternoon and improve our aggressive play."
Spartan goalie Jess Cameron earned a shut-out with 32 bids, and Ephs goalie Christina Cleroux made 20 saves.
Williams will face off next against Salve Regina in an away game Friday December 5. The puck drops at 8pm.