Ephwomen narrowly defeated in ECAC semifinals

The best season in Williams women’s ice hockey history came to a close on Saturday as the team lost 1-0 to Colgate in the ECAC semifinals, held at Middlebury. The Ephs finished their season 16-8-0.

Having lost 4-1 to Colgate two weeks before, the team came in as underdogs in their matchup against the Red Raiders. This time, though, the game was more evenly played, with both teams playing outstanding defense.

Both teams had chances to score in this game, but outstanding play by two of ECAC’s best goalies, Williams’ Monelle Quevillon ’03 and Colgate’s Jen Burtraw, kept the scoring to a minimum. Colgate outshot Williams 28-22 in the game, a margin created by the Red Raiders’ 11-5 second period advantage in shots.

The second was also the period when Colgate scored the only goal of the game. Lauren Pufahl converted a breakaway with a shot to the bottom right corner of the net.

In the third, the Ephs scrambled to tie up the game, mustering nine shots, but couldn’t convert any of their scoring opportunities into goals. Colgate held on to its lead for the rest of the game to seal the victory.

For the Ephs, it was a tough loss to end what had been a great season.

The team achieved a number of firsts, most notably a Little III title, playoff berth and a playoff victory. Originally picked to finish eighth in ECAC, the Ephwomen exceeded nearly everyone’s expectations this year.

After starting off the season slowly under new coach Joe Milan, the team got hot down the stretch, winning 10 of its last 12. It was seeded third in the ECAC, defeated Bowdoin 5-2 last weekend and then narrowly lost to second seed Colgate this weekend.

The Ephs will likely end up ranked fifth nationally in Division III, their highest national ranking ever. The team also set the record for wins in a season by a Williams team at 16, eclipsing the 13 wins set by the 1995-96 team.

With a number of seniors leaving, the Ephs will be hard pressed to replicate this season’s success.

The team’s most notable loss will be tri-captain Cara Shortsleeve, Williams’ alltime leading scorer. Shortsleeve recently made the ECAC Division III second team. After her two goals and three assists during last week’s win over Bowdoin, Shortsleeve was named to the ECAC All-Tournament Team.

Other senior losses include tri-captains Alexis Scott, who also had two goals and three assists in last week’s win over Bowdoin, and Abby Sayer. Williams also loses Katie Gold, the team’s second leading scorer this year, and Emily Small.

On the bright side, the team will return Quevillon, whose strong goaltending skills will allow the team to be competitive in the coming seasons. The team also returns Kristen Lee ’01 and a number of others to fill next year’s senior void.