WILLIAMSTOWN, MA – The Williams College women's hockey team (8-7-2) played an incredible game this afternoon, defeating NESCAC opponent Bowdoin (8-6-4) 5-1. Sophomore Emily Krueger (Manasquan, NJ) scored the game-winning goal at 10:31 in the first period to go up 2-1 against the Polar Bears. Williams is now 5-3-2 for in-conference play while Bowdoin is 4-4-2.
The Williams College hockey community had a lot to celebrate this Senior Day, with Gwen Schultz (Wallingford, CT) earning a hatrick, starting off with a goal in the first period. The Ephs came out with a lot of energy this afternoon following their 3-3 tie against Bowdoin last night. In the first period, Schultz scored a top shelf goal to put Williams up 1-0.
Play went up and down the ice for the next 10 minutes. Then at 10:09, the Polar Bears tied up the game with a short-handed goal by sophomore Jessica Bowen (Rowlett, TX) off a breakaway.
Williams was quick to respond twenty seconds later with a power play goal by Emily Krueger. Sophomore Hanna Beattie (Whitehouse Station, NJ) took a low shot from the point that was then rebounded right to Krueger, who put it over Beth Findley's blocker to notch her 5th goal of the season. Sophomore Sara Lehman (Lexington, MA) helped on the goal too.
The Ephs secured a 3-1 lead over the Polar Bears at 11:20 with another goal by Gwen Schultz. After taking a wrist shot from the bottom of the circle, Schultz followed the puck to the net to knock it in. Williams finished the first frame outshooting Bowdoin 15 to 8.
Bowdoin came out strong in the second period, doing a good job circling the puck in the Williams zone. However freshman goalie Christina Cleroux (New Glascow, NS) had good rebound control to keep the Ephs on top.
Williams' offence picked up the pace after the first two minutes of play and at 4:31, sophomore Chelsey Stevenson scored to put Williams up 4-1. Beattie passed it to Stevenson, who took a shot from the blue line. Junior Natalie Bernstein (Kenilworth, IL) put pressure on Bowdoin by following the shot and rushing the net. Findley couldn't get a hold on the puck and the Ephs secured a 3 goal lead.
At 12:12, the Polar Bears had their first power play of the night. The Ephs worked well as a unit of 6 in the defensive zone to earn a penalty kill, with Schultz making a block and Cleroux making 3 big saves.
With 40 seconds to go in the second, Bowdoin had another power play, but Cleroux stayed tough between the pipes to keep the Ephs up 4-1 going into the final period.
The Ephs earned their second penalty kill of the night at the beginning of the third period and held the momentum for the remainder of the game. At 6:28, Gwen Schultz scored her third goal of the night assisted by senior Andree Heller (Toronto, ONT). Heller won the puck in the Bowdoin corner, and made a quick pass out in front where Schultz was waiting to knock it in.
After her stellar performance this afternoon, Schultz is now the top scorer for the Ephs, with 6 goals for the season.
Williams substituted Cleroux for senior goalie Charlie Billadeau (Chaska, MN) for the last nine minutes of play. He saw lots of action in net, making a total of 10 saves to help the Ephs towards a 5-1 victory over Bowdoin.
Head coach Gillis reflected, "It was a good team effort for all 60 minutes of play this afternoon. In particular, our seniors made their presence felt. All seven of them contributed to the outcome of today's game."
With their win tonight, the Ephs move into third place in the NESCAC conference.