WILLIAMSTOWN, MA – Avery Dunn's goal with 1:34 remaining gave the Williams College Ephs (6-2-1, 2-2-0 NESCAC) breathing room in an exciting, gritty 3-1 victory over the Manhattanville College Valiants (7-2-1).
Coming off a thrilling upset victory over #3-ranked Elmira, the Ephs sought to increase their unbeaten streak to 4. Freshman Chloe Heiting got the nod at goalie, and saved an impressive 16 of 17 Manhattanville shots. Williams had to stave off a Manhattanville power play up 2-1 late in the third, but in the end, the Ephs played their typical brand of aggressive, shot-margin-dominating hockey to roll to their sixth win of the season.
"I thought it was huge building off of yesterday, bearing down when it's important," said Eph head coach Meghan Gillis after the game. We did that today, and the [penalty kill] was great, obviously."
The first period went by without a goal or a penalty. The Ephs, however, outshot the Valiants 10-3, including a thunderous slap shot by sophomore defender Brynn Puppe that was saved at the last second by Manhattanville goalie Rose Picaja, who deflected the shot with her stick 15:32 into the period.
Having already accrued a significant advantage in shots taken, the Ephs had some scoring chances, but were unable to convert for the first 30 minutes of the game. A redirect by freshman defender Delaney Szlezyngier fell right into Picaja's glove, while the Ephs had two different 2-on-1 attempts in the second period but were unable to get a shot on goal off on either one.
Williams, however, was able to open up the scoring halfway through the second period when freshman defender CC Wallin's shot ricocheted off of Picaja's pad right to freshman forward Brianna Hill, who scored her first goal as an Eph by putting it into the bottom-left corner of the net to give the Ephs a 1-0 lead.
Williams was able to extend their lead in the third period on a brilliant shot by junior defender Mia Carroll, who buried a wrist shot from the edge of the faceoff circle right below the crossbar to put Williams up 2-0.
Having been outshot by nearly a three-to-one margin and down two goals, Manhattanville didn't give up. With exactly eight minutes to go, Valiants' forward Amanda Sabia flicked a wrist shot off of Heiting's left pad and into the back-right corner of the net, immediately putting the Valiants back in the game.
Both teams traded penalties in the final minutes, including a 20-second 4-on-4 that turned into Manhattanville's first power play of the game with under four minutes to go. Heiting made three clutch saves on the power play, the last one being a dramatic headfirst slide for the puck with seven seconds to go on the power play.
After the gritty penalty kill, the Ephs immediately sprinted down the ice and opened up their lead with a goal by sophomore forward Avery Dunn with 1:34 to play. The goal came with Picaja still being in goal despite Manhattanville's one-goal deficit.
Despite emptying the net for a 6-on-5 advantage, Manhattanville couldn't get another shot on goal in the final minute of the half, and the Ephs celebrated their fourth straight game without a loss.
"We're finding ways to put the puck in the net. We were outshooting, but we weren't capitalizing, and now we're finishing more, so that makes all the difference," remarked Gillis.
The Ephs their next game on Friday, January 4th at 7PM when they travel to Brunswick, Maine to face Bowdoin in the first of a 2-game series vs. the Polar Bears.