CLINTON, NY -- The Williams College Ephs fell to the Hamilton College Continentals by a score of 4-3 in this afternoon's NESCAC Women's Ice Hockey Tournament Quarterfinal.
The game finished in heartbreaking fashion as the Continentals scored the winning goal with just 2.8 seconds left on the clock. A scrum in front of the net left Chloe Heiting '22 no chance to find the puck, and unfortunately for the Ephs, Michaela Giuttari jammed it home to send them to the next round of the playoffs. The goal was assisted by Nancy Loh and Missy Segall.
The Ephs started the scoring midway through the opening stanza as Maddie Tix '23 got in quickly on the forecheck and caused a turnover behind the Hamilton net, eventually knocking the puck to Kelly McCarthy '23, who passed it to Meghan Halloran '21 waiting between the hashmarks. Halloran was alone in the slot and ripped a shot high glove side to give the Ephs the lead with 9:28 left in the first period.
The Ephs doubled their lead late in the period. After some great pressure from all five Ephs skaters to prevent the Continentals from exiting their own zone, Delaney Szlezyngier '22 passed the puck from the left point to CC Wallin '22, who was waiting on the goal line below the left faceoff circle. Wallin passed the puck across the front of the net to Emily Batchelor '23, who shot the puck from near the right hashmark. The puck slowly rolled over the goal line as the Continentals' goalie got an arm on the puck but could not keep it out. The goal was Batchelor's first of her career. Shots for the first period finished 13-10 in favor of the Ephs.
Down two goals, Hamilton came out strong early in the second period and scored after just 1:04 on a deflected point shot. Maddie Hong got the goal and Abby Kuhns and Hyla Mosher were credited with the assists to cut the Ephs' lead to 1.
The Ephs regained their two-goal lead as Halloran scored her second of the game on the power play at the 13:40 mark of the second period. Halloran made a great defensive play to win back the puck and then passed it off of the boards to Wallin. Wallin returned the puck to Halloran, who skated down the left side and fired a shot from the left circle, the puck slipping through the goalie to give Halloran her 14th of the year.
Hamilton closed the gap to 1 again after Mya Beretta tapped a puck in on the backdoor with 11:14 to go in the second. Assists went to Allie Curry and Missy Segall. Hamilton put the pressure on the Ephs in the second period, as shots finished 19-10 favor of the Continentals.
In the middle of the third period, the Ephs got a stroke of luck as the Continentals looked to have tied the game at 3 on the power play with 13:41 remaining, but the goal was called off as the play was blown dead by the referee.
Hamilton piled on the pressure throughout the third period. The Ephs' head coach Meghan Gillis complemented Hamilton's fast-paced game and ability to put the Ephs on their heels. "Hamilton really pushed the pace in the third and kept it simple. They were throwing everything at the net and forcing us to react to those scrambles."
The Ephs played solid defensively throughout the third period, but the Continentals leveled the game at 3 with just 1:52 remaining. Nancy Loh scored the tying goal on a quick faceoff play in the Ephs' zone with their goalie pulled. The lone assist went to Missy Segall.
In total, Heiting made 38 saves for the Ephs. Gillis was happy with Heiting's play: "Chloe was solid. Most of [Hamilton's] goals were off rebounds and defensive zone coverage breakdowns."
Sidney Molnar made 26 saves in net for the Continentals. The Ephs went 1-3 on the power play and killed off all 3 power play opportunities in the game. Faceoffs finished 38-34 on the day in favor of the Continentals.
While the senior class's final game came to a heartbreaking finish, Gillis kept the tone positive after the game, saying "I want to thank all of our seniors and their families for their dedication towards the program the last four seasons."
The Ephs finish their season with an overall record of 12-9-4.