The women’s ice hockey team had a tough three game week, facing off against Amherst, Wesleyan, and Connecticut College. The week ended on positive note with a crushing 9-0 defeat of Connecticut College that followed a disappointing tie to Amherst and a loss to Wesleyan. Although not every game ended in victory, the women are coming into their own on the ice, playing with the rhythm that they have been looking for all season.
As the Amherst game approached, memories of last year, when Williams defeated Amherst twice with little effort, remained strong. This year Amherst has stepped up their level of play significantly, and they showed up at Lansing Chapman Rink ready to prove themselves.
Williams put the first goal on the scoreboard when Captain Emmy Starr ’98 slammed classmate Anna Groskin’s pass into the back of the net. The purple and gold continued to storm the Amherst net eager to show the Jeffs that Williams still dominates this rivalry.
Four minutes later Starr, clearly hungry for the win, took another shot. The Amherst goalie made the first save, but left a rebound wide open in front of the net. Danielle Kunian ’99 got her stick on the puck first as she tallied her first goal of the season.
Williams was eager to add to their lead in the second period, but Amherst was equally aggressive looking score some goals of their own. Williams goalie Kate Niederhoffer ’99 made one stellar save after another, preventing the Jeffs from scoring in the second period. But Amherst goalie Sarah Evans was equally strong, as the Ephs failed to turn any of their 15 shots into a goal.
Amherst began to really turn their game around in the third period. Just under two and a half minutes into the period Gretchen Bowe managed to slip one past Niederhoffer. Bowe scored another goal to tie the game to 2-2 just past the halfway mark in the third period.
Cara Shortsleeve ’00, the leading scorer for Williams, was not going to give up the game that easily. Just 35 seconds later she scored off of assists from Katie Gold ’00, who leads the team in assists, and Julie Rusczek ’99.
Bowe took the victory away from Williams with less than five minutes left in the third period, when she notched another goal. A five minute overtime would not allow either team to gain the win, as each team only managed to get off 2 shots. The game ended in a tie, and the Ephs were left hungry for a little three win against Wesleyan.
Despite a strong third period, in which Gold assisted Shortsleeve twice, Williams suffered a loss to Weslyan by an excruciating one goal deficit. Wesleyan scored three goals in the first period and would not score again, but it was enough to take the win.
Coach Patch Mason said of the heart-breaking loss, “We came alive in the third period and all Wesleyan could do was ice the puck out of their zone. If there was another period and the game went into overtime, we probably would have won the game.”
Williams rolled into New London, Connecticut Sunday morning to face the Connecticut College Camels, with the frustrating loss to Weslyan still fresh in their minds. The Ephs were ready to continue the level of play they had ended game with the night before.
Connecticut College never really had a chance against the Ephs. They were only able to muster 11 shots against Eph goaltenders Niederhoffer and Rebecca Sanborn ’01, who in a combined effort earned their first shut out of the season.
Shortsleeve started working on what would be her eventual hat trick when she first stepped out on the ice and slipped one past Camel goalie Claudia Goodrich. She led the Ephs with her three goals and one assist.
Rusczek contributed a goal and two assists, while Abby Sayer ’00 and Emily Small ’00 each picked up a goal and an assist.
The remaining three goals were scored by Gold, Groskin, and Kristen Lee ’01. Sharon Rackow ’98, Victoria Goldman ’01 and Kunian, also played a major role the Eph’s resounding victory, each notching an assist.
Williams looks to continue with strong play when they face off against RPI at home tomorrow night, and have a second chance at Amherst on the road on Friday night.