MIDDLEBURY, VT – The Williams College women's hockey team lost to third ranked NESCAC opponent Middlebury College tonight 4-0. Freshman Maddie Winslow (Manchester, VT) scored the game-winning goal at 11:56 in the second period to go up 1-0. Then in the third period, the Panthers secured their lead with an empty net goal with 17 seconds to go in the game. Williams is now 5-7-2 for NESCAC play while Middlebury is 13-1-2.
Despite outshooting the Ephs 11 to 2, strong goaltending by freshman Christina Cleroux (New Glascow, NS) and solid defense from Williams kept the score deadlocked at 0-0 at the end of the first period.
At 8:33, Williams received a penalty to give Middlebury a one-man advantage, but Cleroux had good rebound control to keep the score tied. She made three consecutive saves to earn the penalty kill.
Sophomore Hanna Beattie (White house Station, NJ) had a good shot on net at the 12 minute mark, cutting from left to right to make a forehand wrist shot.
The Ephs had two good scoring opportunities at the end of the first frame. Sophomores Emily Krueger (Manasquan, NJ) and Sara Lehman (Lexington, MA) had a two on one opportunity, where Lehman sent a quick pass over to Krueger in the middle of the right circle. Kruger tried to one-time the puck into the net, but sent it just wide of the right post.
After cycling the puck around the net, freshman Alex Lovaas (Wayzata, MN) took a wrist shot from the left point. Sophomore Chelsey Stevenson (Tilbury, Ont) took a shot off the rebound, but once again the puck sailed wide by an inch.
With 15 seconds to go in the period, Cleroux made a huge save to keep the score tied at 0-0. Cleroux slid from left post to right post to cover Winslow's shot while junior Katie Mandigo (Cornwall, VT) rushed the net. However, Cleroux kept the puck covered before Mandigo could get her stick on it.
The Panthers received a penalty at 1:15 in the second period. Williams played strong on the forecheck, and Beattie took two good slap shots from the left point but couldn't get the puck past Middlebury goalie Madeline Marsh (Kanata, Ont).
The remainder of the second period was riddled with penalties. Williams held off the Panthers at 7:16. Middlebury had the upper hand after the Williams penalty kill, and was able to capitalize off a tired Williams line to score at 11:56. Winslow took the puck from the Middlebury blue line up the left wing. She took a wrist shot from her forehand side to go up 1-0 against the Ephs.
Middlebury then received two consecutive penalties – at 12:13 and 15:37 – but Williams couldn't get the puck past Marsh.
"We needed to capitalize on the power play tonight," reflected head coach Meghan Gillis.
The Ephs received another penalty at 16:56 and earned their 3rd penalty kill of the night. Williams defense cleared the puck twice to secure the penalty kill.
Senior Emily Fluke (Bourne, MA) scored off a rebound at 1:38 in the final period to make it 2-0 in favor of the Panthers.
Middlebury gained momentum with the Fluke goal, and went up 3-0 against the Ephs with a goal 3 minutes later with a goal by freshman Jessica Young (Mission Hills, Kan.). Fluke won the face off in the Williams end, and sent it over to Young who buried the puck with a wrist shot.
The last seven minutes of play featured four Middlebury penalties and one for Williams.
Williams had a two-man advantage for the last 4 minutes of play, but Middlebury came up with some big blocks to keep the lead. At 19:44, Fluke scored a short-handed empty net goal to go up 4-0.
"Middlebury did a good job coming out strong at the beginning of each period and were able to secure their lead at the beginning of the third. Cleroux played a strong game tonight, making several big saves to keep it a one goal game going into the third period," reflected coach Gillis.