The women’s ice hockey ended a five game winning streak on Sunday with a heartbreaking loss to Middlebury College. Middlebury, the top ranked team in the ECAC alliance has not lossed an alliance game in three seasons. After a win against Connecticut College two weeks ago, the ephs tallied there first home win against RPI, shut out Amherst, and defeated Gustavus Adolphus and University of Vermont. The team’s record now stands at 6-9-1.
The matchup against RPI was by no means an easy win. Williams entered the game ranked below RPI and knew that they would have to play a game of strong hockey to earn the win. After the first period the score remained locked at 0-0. The ephs entered the second period knowing that they would have to try some new things to force the puck into the net. Captain Emmy Starr ‘98 put the puck in the net early in the second period, and Julie Rusczek ‘99 slammed in a puck from the blue line. RPI also managed to slip one past williams goalie Kate Niederhoffer ‘99.
RPI stepped onto the ice during the third period ready to show williams that they were not going to let the game be won without a hard third period. RPI scored a quick goal to tie up the score. Jess Charland ‘99 answered with her boomer from the blue line. RPI was not going to give up the game that easily as they quickly managed to tie up the score at 3-3.
The ephs took the game away from RPI with less than 5 minutes left in the third period when Kathleen Mason ‘99 scored for the ephs. This tough fight ended in the first home win of the season for the ephs.
The ephs next travelled to Amherst to take on the lady jeffs, ready to avenge a tie that came earlier in the season. The game started out pretty evenly matched with Cara Shortsleeve ‘00 scoring the lone goal off an assist from Tricia Hennesy ‘01.
In the second period williams built on the lead established in the first period and dominated the ice. Emily Small ‘00 put the the puck in the net early in the period, and Katie Gold ‘00 scored twice, each time slipping a Shortsleeve pass in front of the net pass the Amherst goalie.
Despit a 4-0 lead entering the third period, Williams knew that the game was not over, as Amherst has overcome larger goal deficits in the third period this season. Williams continued to play a tight defensive game and work an agressive offense to double the score to 8-0 in the third period. Victoria Goldman ‘01, Starr, Mason, and Sharon Rackow ‘98 helped seal the victory with their third period goals. Niederhoffer notched 29 saves in her second shut-out of the season.
Next Williams faced off at home against Minnesota team, Gustavus Adolphus. After the first two periods Williams lead 2-0, with Anna Groskin ‘98 notching a goal early in the first period, and Shortsleeve scoring the lone second period goal. Most of the action occured during the third period.
Gustavus Adolphus came at Williams hard in the third period, scoring 3 goals in the first ten minutes of the third period. One of the goals was shorthanded, and the Golden Gusties took the lead. Williams continued to work their systems and 5 minutes after Gustavus Adolphus took the lead, Shortsleeve tied it up again. The ephs took the lead two minutes later when Sharon Rackow ‘98 found the back of the net. Shortsleeve sealed the victory, and earned herself a hat trick when she scored an empty netter with sixteen seconds left on the clock.
Williams next faced University of Vermont on their home ice in Burlington. Williams had defeated UVM earlier in the season during the Middlebury Tournement, but it was a close game. This game would go to the team that wanted it more.
UVM got on the scoreboard first with the only first period goal. Despite taking the early lead Williams continued to fight for the win, and Shorsleeve found the back of the net twice, once in the second period, and once in the third to complete a five game winning streak.
Williams put up a good fight against Middlebury College, only allowing them to score 2 goals in the first period and holding them to a scoreless third period. In the third period Williams just broke down, as Middlebury scored five goals including a shorthanded goal.
Williams did have a number of oppurtunities with a few shots that were painfully close to going into the net, but Williams just could not muster more than 12 shots the entire game as Middlebury did an effective job of shutting down the powerful goal scoring unit of Shortsleeve and Gold. Despite the final outcome Niederhoffer managed an impressive 63 saves against some of the best shooters in the ECAC alliance.
Williams looks to regain their momentum as they face of against Trinity at home tommorow night, and then travel to Maine to face Bowdoin and the University of Maine.