Williamstown, MA- The Willliams College Ephs (12-12-1, 8-9-0 NESCAC) fell to the Trinity College Bantams (15-8-2, 8-7-2 NESCAC) in the quarterfinals of the NESCAC championship, 2-1. Williams was seeded fourth and Trinity seeded at five.
This was the third time the two teams have played in the quarterfinal round of the championship. Trinity beat Williams last year, 1-0, and went on to win the tournament while Williams beat Trinity, 3-2, the year before and also went on to win the championship so this matchup has a bit of history to it.
The Ephscame out of the box strong with an early goal at 1:54 into the first period. The puck hit a funny partition on the boards and senior Natalie Bernstein was there to slide it past Trinity goaltender, sophomore Sydney Belinskas. This was Bernstein's fifth goal of the season; she was assisted by senior Michaela Levine.
The rest of the period played pretty evenly with both teams making good offensive rushes and solid defensive plays to keep the score 1-0 going into the second period.
Williams sophomore Alex Lovaas's late first period checking penalty was carried over from the first period and Trinity quickly capitalized on this opportunity, scoring in the first minute of the second at 0:57. Assisted by senior Cheeky Herr, senior Emma Tani caught the side netting for her ninth goal of the year.
Neither team could set up successful offensive plays with both defensive lines and goaltenders playing strong. The Ephs had three power play opportunities but couldn't convert on any of them. Williams led in shots on goal 21 to 13 at the end of the second.
In the third period, Williams netminder Cleroux and Trinity's Belinskas made strong saves, keeping both teams above water. Both offensive lines were sharp during the third period but, again, neither could finish off the shots sending the game into over-time.
Overtime began with both teams coming out of the locker room fired up and getting early shots off but, ultimately, Trinity's senior Shannon Farrell, assisted by sophomore Hannah Oganeku, scored the winning goal at 9:23 into overtime, sending the Bantams to the semifinals.
"We played an unbelievable first period and came out strong," head coach Meghan Gillis said. "Every time we've done that, we've won those games but we had a couple of bad bounces and only gave up very few chances, which happened to be in overtime and that was tough."