Williamstown, MA-In the Ephs last week of regular season play, the team (10-6-7, 4-5-6 NESCAC), tied the Middlebury Panthers (16-4-3, 12-1-2 NESCAC) 3-3.
The Ephs started the game off strong. At 9:47, junior Claire Mancheski was called for a two-minute tripping penalty. Within seconds of the penalty, junior Abby Brustad deflected a shot off her pad. The deflection shot the puck out of the Ephs zone and Brustad carried the puck down toward Middlebury netminder sophomore Lin Han. The Ephs were able to keep the puck in the Panthers zone for the majority of the remainder of the penalty. The dominance the Ephs showed even during a one-man deficit set the stage for strong play during the second half of the period.
Though the Ephs showed agility and speed throughout the period, the Panthers defensive line was too strong and would not let the Ephs get a shot on Han. An opportunity presented itself when Middlebury junior Katherine Jackson was called for a roughing penalty at 15:27. The Williams special team jumped on the opportunity and sophomore Amanda Reisman shot Williams' first shot on net and scored Williams' first goal at 16:51. The goal came from a wrist shot from the corner. The puck hit the crossbar before falling on Han's back. After this series of unlikely events, the puck found the back of the net, giving the Ephs the lead. Reisman was assisted by senior Candy Lu.
Shortly after their power play goal, the Ephs extended their lead to two with a goal at 18:10. This even strength goal was a tip in by junior Anna Fucillo. Fucillo was assisted by classmate Olivia Stokes and senior Eliza Quigley.
Out of the excitement of a 2-0 lead, Reisman was called for a slashing penalty just seven seconds after the Ephs' second goal. Unfortunately, the Panthers were also able to capitalize on this opportunity with a tip-in goal themselves. The goal came at 18:29 and was scored by freshman Madie Leidt and assisted by seniors Jessica Young and Maddie Winslow.
The Ephs started the second period with a one-goal lead. Middlebury was adamant to tie up the game and did just that at 5:43. Middlebury sophomore Sidney Portner intercepted a pass at the blue line in the Ephs' zone. She was given a lot of room to skate and was able to put off a strong shot that just grazed the glove of Williams goaltender, senior Christina Cleroux. Portner was assisted by senior Elizabeth Wulf.
The Ephs were not going to go that that easily. Middlebury junior Rachel St. Clair slashed Eph freshman Brynn Puppe to the ice and was sent to the box at 12:12. With a power play goal already under their belt, the Ephs were hungry for another. They nearly buried a shot when Puppe's shot from the blue line hit the crossbar. During the next play, freshman Meghan Halloran centered a pass to Puppe who had stepped up to the middle of the zone. She one-timed a slapshot into the left, center pocket to maintain the Ephs' rebuild a one-goal lead.
An early penalty during the third period against the Ephs gave Middebury the opening they needed to score the equalizer. Brustad was called for interferance at 5:00 and with the momentum the Panthers carried from the power play, their third goal was scored at 7:06. The goal came from senior Maddie Winslow from freshman Alexis Ryan and sophomore Sidney Portner.
The equalizing goal sent the two teams into over time. The Panthers kept the puck in their offensive zone and had a close call when a shot grazed the top crossbar but, alas, not goal was scored and the game ended in a disappointing tied, 3-3.
"We played a competitive back and forth battle with the 4th ranked team in the country. It shows what we are capable of when we play together and leave it all out there each shift. We will be on the Olympic ice sheet up at Midd so we hope to use our speed on the bigger sheet," head coach Meghan Gillis said.
The two teams will face off tomorrow night at 7pm at Middlebury.