WILLIAMSTOWN, MA — The Williams College women's hockey team (2-3-0/2-1-0 NESCAC) came back from a three-goal deficit in the third period to beat the Wesleyan Cardinals (2-3-0/0-1-0 NESCAC) 4-3 tonight. Junior Kearan Burke (Shrewbury, MA) scored the game-winning goal at 18:51 in the final frame. The Ephs will face off again against the Cardinals tomorrow at 3pm.
Wesleyan started out the game on a power play 25 seconds into the first period. Senior Chelsey Stevenson (Tilbury, ONT) blocked two shots, helping Williams towards a penalty kill.
The Ephs spent the remainder of the first period down in the Wesleyan zone, outshooting the Cardinals 9 to 3. Junior Alex Lovaas (Wayzata, MN) and sophomore Annie Rush (Anchorage, AK) fired off two consecutive shots to test Wesleyan goalie Allegra Grant'20 (Winnetka, Ill).
At 6:22, Stevenson took a hard slap shot from the slot that hit Grant in the bread basket. Grant continued to stay tough between the pipes, as senior Sara Lehman (Lexington, MA) took two consecutive wrist shots from below the hashmarks, and then again with 6 minutes to go in the period, she beat two Wesleyan defensemen to rifle a shot that just went over the top corner of the net.
With 4:39 left in the first, Williams freshman goalie Marissa Anderson (East Falmouth, MA) made an impressive save. A Wesleyan forward made a centering pass to freshman Allie Damren (Westwood, MA) who took a shot from below the hashmarks. Anderson blocked the shot and then fell on the puck for the whistle.
The Ephs finished the first period continuing to put offensive pressure on the Cardinals — Lovaas blew by two defensemen to take a wrist shot as the clock ran out.
Wesleyan came out strong in the second period, forcing Anderson to make a glove save off a shot from the point within the first 15 seconds of play.
However, Williams pushed back offensively, going on the power play 26 seconds into the period, and again at 7:07.
Wesleyan responded with a two-on-one goal by sophomore Gina Mangiafridda (Pelham, NY) at 14:28. Sophomore Bridget Sherman (Washington, DC) passed the puck to Mangiafridda, who beat Anderson with a wrist shot on her glove side to make it 1-0 for the Cardinals.
Wesleyan then went on the power play at 14:52, but Anderson stayed tough between the pipes to lead the Ephs to their second penalty kill of the night.
Play went back and forth for the remainder of the second period.
Senior co-captain Hanna Beattie (Whitehouse Station, NJ) started off the third period challenging Grant with a hard wrist shot from the point, that Grant deflected into the corner.
Starting at 2:42, Williams played scrappy defense to kill two consecutive penalties, clearing the puck multiple times from the Ephs zone.
However, Wesleyan continued to pressure Williams, going up 2-0 at 7:08 in the final frame. Mangiafridda scored her second goal of the night off a wrist shot from the point, assisted by senior Hailey Sholty (Malibu, CA).
Wesleyan solidified their lead to make it 3-0 off a power play goal by Sholty at 7:56, assisted by sophomore Jackie Kilar (Weare, NH) and senior Ellery Sarosi (Ann Arbor, MI).
"Going down 3-0, we had to stop thinking so much and focus more on competing hard," commented Williams head coach Meghan Gillis. "We needed to execute simple plays by getting the puck deep and working the forecheck to transition to offense."
Stevenson started the Williams come back with a power play goal at 9:42. Burke did a great job keeping the puck in the Wesleyan zone. She passed the puck to Beattie, who laid it across the ice to Stevenson. She waiting just outside the crease to one-time it into the net.
Earning another penalty kill at 11:05, the Ephs continued to play with urgency and pressure the Cardinals.
At 16:13, Stevenson scored her second goal of the game — making it a one goal game. Beattie carried the puck up the left side of the ice and took a shot from the bottom of the circle, that rebounded into the crease. After a scramble in front of the net, Stevenson managed to bury the puck, assisted by sophomore Olivia Stokes (Pittsburgh, PA) and Burke.
Williams managed to tie up the game with just under two minutes left in the third period, with an unassisted, power play goal by sophomore Abby Brustad (Mound, MN). Skating in front of the net, Brustad buried the puck with a diving, backhanded shot.
With a minute and a half left in the final frame, Anderson made a solid body save to keep the game tied at 3-3.
Coach Gillis commented, "Anderson played a great game tonight, and earned her first college and NESCAC win."
Burke scored the game winning goal at 18:51 to make it 4-3 for the Ephs. Lovaas passed the puck to Rush, who carried the puck around the net. She passed it to Burke, who one-timed it into the back of the net.
With just under a minute left in the third period, the Cardinals pulled their goalie to gain a one man advantage, but were unable to tie up the game.
"It will definitely be a challenge playing Wesleyan again tomorrow," reflected Gillis, "the key will be coming out with the same mental intensity that we showed at the end of the game tonight."
Anderson finished the game with 12 saves, while Grant had 28.
Williams faces off against Wesleyan tomorrow at Lansing Chapman Rink. The puck drops at 3pm.