Southern Maine no match for women’s ice hockey

It was another frustrating weekend for the women’s ice hockey team. Once again an early week win was punctuated by two weekend losses, as the team beat the University of Southern Maine on Thursday and then lost to RPI Saturday and RIT on Sunday. Their record stands at 8-13-1.

The Ephs entered the game against Southern Maine looking for a big win and inspiration to carry them through a grueling weekend. They notched a 2-0 win, but did not quite find the inspiration they were looking for as a key forward would have to spend Saturday on the bench.

Though Williams dominated play through much of the first period the Southern Maine huskies managed to stifle most of the purple and gold scoring attempts. With just under six minutes left in the period Cara Shortsleeve ‘00 took one last shot as her line was getting off of the ice. The shot rebounded off of Maine netminder Samantha Whitman, and Abby Sayer ‘00 was there to flick it up over Whitman into the back of the net as the goalie floundered on the ice trying to get back on her feet.

In the second period Katie Gold ‘00 collected the puck on the Maine goal line and took a shot that slipped right between the goal post and Whitman to bring the score to 2-0.

No one is quite clear about what happened next, but as the Ephs began to celebrate Gold’s goal the referee made a questionable call. In the struggle in front of the net Shorstleeve was held down by two Maine players. According to Shortsleeve she was simply trying to free herself from the two Huskies. According to the referee Shortsleeve intentionally kicked her opponent, an infraction that is punished with a 5 minute major penalty and a game ejection. According to ECAC rules if a player is ejected from a game she is also barred from competing in the following game.

The Ephs managed to hold on to their lead, registering half of the game total 44 shots in the third period. Kate Niederhoffer ‘99 managed to hold on the shut out victory, making 20 saves in the game.

Williams arrived in Troy on Saturday evening without the confidence an earlier season victory against RPI should have provided. Despite the fact that Shortsleeve, the leading goal scorer, did not score any of the goals in the 4-3 victory, the team was uncertain about facing such an evenly matched opponent without one of its toughest offensive weapons.

The Ephs were unable to muster much of an offense as they only took 16 shots as compared to the 41 that RPI fired at Niederhoffer. Niederhoffer made 37 saves in the 4-0 loss.

Less than 24 hours later Williams was on the ice again, this time facing off against RIT. For the entire first period and much of the second the game remained scoreless. In the second period the Tigers managed to slam one past Niederhoffer to get on the scoreboard. Late in the third period the Tigers managed to seal their victory with two more goals.

“We played well enough to win today,” coach Patch Mason said about loss. “We just couldn’t put the puck in the net. It’s sort of been the story of our season.”

Niederhoffer mounted the strongest defensive effort against RIT in the 3-0 defeat. She made 30 saves bringing her overall save percentage to 89.5% and her Goals Against Average to 3.29 for the season.

The women will wrap up their season at home next weekend as they face off against Wesleyan on Saturday and Connecticut College on Sunday.