Ephs battle back on Senior Day to earn a 1-1 draw against Connecticut College

Candace Lu '18/Ryan Coleman D3Photography.com
Candace Lu '18/Ryan Coleman D3Photography.com

Williamstown, Massachusetts - On Senior Day in Williamstown, the Williams women's hockey team returned to the ice for the second half of their weekend double header against the Connecticut College Camels. (11-3-3; 7-1-2 NESCAC) Following a tough 3-2 loss yesterday on some close and questionable calls, the Ephs (9-4-4; 3-3-4 NESCAC) looked to have a bounce back game. A win in today's game would also put the Ephs over 0.500 in the NESCAC conference standings.

The first period of the game started off with two very similar teams, both wanting desperately get out to a fast start. However, the overexcitement seemed to have led to a pair of penalties very early in the period. The first of which was committed by Camel junior Olivia Good, as she hooked Ephs freshman Brynn Puppe as she made a move into the offensive zone. However, on the power play, the better of the offensive chances were actually had by the Camels, who held the Ephs without a shot during the power play. The second penalty was committed with just under 7 minutes gone in the period. Sophomore Amanda Reisman for the Ephs committed a trip and was docked two minutes in the penalty box. After going 1-for-2 on the power play yesterday, the Camels looked to continue their power play dominance against the Ephs, but Williams held strong, killing the power play.

Following the penalty kills, both teams seemed to settle down, especially with emotions running high. Late in the period, the Camels seemed to turn up the pressure, maintaining prolonged offensive zone time, which enabled them to generate some quality chances. One of which was a centering pass to a wide open sophomore Kylie Wilkes. Her shot from point blank range was robbed by a fantastic save by Eph senior goaltender Christina Cleroux. Cleroux made her presence known in the period, as she was able to stop all 10 shots the Camels attempted in the period.

Williams started the second period, similar to how the Camels started the first. Puppe was called for a checking penalty at 1:59 in the second and that left the Camels on a power play early in the period. However, despite several more opportunities for the Camels, they were all turned aside by Cleroux, who looked poised for a shutout.

At just over the midway point of the game, the scoreless tie was broken. Following a dump in by the Camels and a mishandled puck by the Ephs, Camel freshman Mairi Anthony picked up the puck on the right wing and walked in on goal from the left wing. Her shot was into the upper netting from point blank range and Cleroux had no chance. This made the score 1-0 in favor of the Camels.

Williams had a great chance as the period was winding down. With just over 4 minutes left in the period, on a tie-up along the wall, the puck bounced out and made its way to the center of the ice, where Eph junior Olivia Stokes was waiting. She rifled a wristshot on net and was able to beat Connecticut College's junior goaltender Bailey Mertz. Unfortunately, the shot pinged off of the left post and bounced back across the face of the goal, keeping the score still 1-0 in favor of the Camels.

The third period started with a similar script as the first two periods, a collection of penalties were the first real action in the period. The first was committed by the Camels, as sophomore Elizabeth Cho was called for checking from behind and was assessed a two minute minor penalty at 2:42. However, the resulting Ephs power play was not long lived, as at just 44 seconds into the powerplay, senior Kearan Burke was called for checking and was also assessed a two minute minor penalty. This resulted in a 4-on-4 for both teams that lasted a minute and sixteen seconds. Neither team was able to convert on the extra skating room and the score remained 1-0.

After a lot of Williams pressure throughout the third period, they were finally able to break through at 14:47 in the third period. After the Camels were unable to clear the zone, Williams was able to combine an assortment of passes together. Junior Annie Rush carried it in deep and left it off on a drop off to teammate Puppe. Puppe carried it around the back of the net and slung a pass to her teammate junior Abby Brustad. She flipped a shot in on Camel goaltender Mertz, who blocked it down in the crease. A mad scramble for the puck ensued, where freshman Meghan Halloran was able to get her stick on the puck, which squirted across the line. This goal was huge for the Ephs, as they were able to equalize the scoreline at 1-1 late in the third period. This scoreline was held until the end of regulation and the game entered a 5 minute overtime period.

In the overtime, both teams were able to generate great scoring chances, but the play of the period occurred with just 25 seconds remaining. Following quick breakout by the camels, the puck found camel freshman Erin Dillon, who skated in at Cleroux on a breakaway. Dillon fired a shot, but Cleroux was able to show her blocker to the puck, deflecting it away, ensuring the 1-1 tie for the Ephs.

"I thought that the team did a great job of continuing to push in the third period," Ephs head coach Meghan Gillis commented after the contest. "We were able to hit some posts and we had some chances in the second period, and we didn't score. We were resilient and then eventually tied the game, which is great."

While the Ephs were not able to secure the victory on Senior Day in Williamstown, the tie was much better than a loss. The Ephs were able to show resilience and bounced back from yesterday against a strong Connecticut College team. The Ephs will take back to the ice on Tuesday at 7PM when they travel to Manchester, New Hampshire to take on the Saint Anselm Hawks in an out-of-conference battle.

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