Women’s hockey dominates Amherst, to host Bowdoin in ECAC playoff game

The Williams women’s ice hockey team completed the last week of the regular season by routing both Amherst and Union but falling to Colgate in the last match of the regular season.

By virtue of their 15-7-0 record and a 10-2 run in their last twelve games, the Ephwomen will be the third seed in the newly expanded eight-team ECAC playoffs. Their first ECAC playoff game is this Saturday at home against Bowdoin.

Sunday’s match against Colgate was an important test for the team in terms of matching up with the best competition in ECAC. Colgate came into the game with only one loss, to perennial ECAC power Middlebury.

Unfortunately, Williams couldn’t add another to Colgate’s loss column, losing 4-1.

The teams were evenly matched in terms of scoring opportunities, with Colgate taking 23 shots to the Ephs’ 19. In the end, though, Colgate was able to push the puck into the goal more often than the Ephs, scoring once each in the first and second periods before scoring two goals in the third to put it away.

Katie Gold ’00, assisted by Sophie de la Barra ’02 and Emily Small ’00, scored the Ephs’ only goal midway into the third period (9:24) but on this day it would not be enough. Monelle Quevillon ’03 stopped 19 of the 23 shots she faced.

“Colgate was a skilled team,” said Kristen Lee ’01,”and reminded us of the fast game we will be ready to play in the playoffs. I can’t wait to meet them again in the playoffs.”

Earlier in the week, the Ephs captured the third seed and a possible matchup with Colgate again in the ECAC semifinals, by defeating Union College 7-0 and Amherst 8-1.

Williams dominated their matchup with Union from the start, outshooting Union 49-10 and promptly scoring three goals in the first to put Union away early. The first Williams goal came at 3:56 off the stick of tri-captain Cara Shortsleeve ’00.

Later in the first, at 14:39, Amanda Weber ’02, assisted by classmate Caitlin Bowler, got the Ephs’ second goal. 41 seconds later, Williams added another, this time from Karen Thome ’03, assisted by Julia Karoly ’03 and Molly Venter ’02.

It was more of the same in the second.

At 4:44, tri-captain Alexis Scott, from Shortsleeve, increased the Williams lead to four. About four minutes later (8:29), Meghan Bullock ’03, from Shortsleeve, netted in another Williams goal.

Late in the period (18:45), Williams scored a power play goal off the stick of Lee. Shortsleeve and Katie Gold ’00 were credited with assists.

Late in the third, Scott would net one more (15:21), with another assist from Shortsleeve, to make it an even seven for the Ephs. Quevillon saved all 10 shots she faced.

On Wednesday, buoyed by an unusually large home crowd and two goals each from Scott and Molly Venter ’02, the team crushed archrival Amherst 8-1 to sweep Little III competition for the first time ever. The win also enabled the team to set a new all-time win mark for a Williams women’s ice hockey team, surpassing the 1995-96 squad that won 13 games.

Once again, the Ephs completely dominated the opposition from the start. Williams outshot Amherst 46-17 and never let the Lord Jeffs come anywhere close to taking this game.

Venter, from Scott, scored the first goal 3:11 into the game. Shortly thereafter (4:17), Williams struck again, with a goal from de la Barra, assisted by Small and Gold, to increase the lead to two.

Williams took an extraordinary 21 shots in the second and padded their lead to four. 4:10 into the period, Shortsleeve scored an unassisted goal to increase the lead to three.

The Ephs continued their relentless attack but they would not score any more goals in the period until just 25 seconds remained in the second, with another goal from Venter, assisted by Shortsleeve.

That set up an unbelievable third period, when Williams struck early and often, claiming four goals on nine shots taken during the period. Before anyone could get settled, Scott took a pass from Shortsleeve and scored the Ephs’ fifth goal just 14 seconds into the period.

The team wouldn’t score another goal again in the period until the last five minutes, when they seemed to score nearly at will.

At 16:18, Julia Karoly ’03, from Jocelyn Wang ’03, got the sixth goal for the Ephs. Then, at 17:36, Scott netted in another. Finally, to cap off the victory, the Ephs got a goal from Gold, from Small and de la Barra, to put the game score at 8-1.

Quevillon stopped all 11 Amherst shots she faced, while Anna Macintosh ’02 saved five of six shots she faced after subbing for Quevillon.

With 10 wins in their last 12 games, the team had no doubt improved themselves from earlier in the season, when they were unsure of even capturing an ECAC berth.

Quevillon credits the team’s recent success to their improved ability to take advantage of scoring opportunities as well as better cycling.

Lee also feels the team has been improving, saying, “Each week the team gels together further, creating better passing and awareness of one another one the ice.”

Added Lee, “In the last few games, Trinity, Amherst, and Union we have started putting the puck in the net. We have been working on composure the offensive zone.”

The Ephs head into the playoffs on a hot streak and are ready, if they win Saturday’s home playoff game against Bowdoin, for a likely rematch against Colgate.

Says Quevillon, “Our team is ready to surprise some teams in the playoffs.”

The Ephs’ will play Bowdoin this Saturday at 7 p.m. in the ECAC playoffs. Game time at Lansing Chapman Rink is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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