Women’s hockey playoff picture blurry

On Sunday, an obstacle was presented to women’s hockey’s playoff run. Trinity goalie Mimi McKinnon turned back 44 Williams shots, and the Bantams upset the Ephs 3-2 in Hartford.

Both teams came out of the box playing excellent defense as neither was able to find the back of the net in the opening stanza. In the second period, the Bantams struck first, as freshman Kristy Hadeka scored the first of her two goals off an assist from classmate Victoria Fox.

Williams, however, took advantage of their power play opportunities and scored consecutive goals with the woman advantage. The first tally was from Gigi Stender ’05, as Molly Wasserman ’04 and Karen Thome ’03 assisted.

Three minutes later, the same trio produced the second Eph goal, as Wasserman scored her NESCAC-leading 29th goal of the season with dimes from Stender and Thome.

Trinity knotted things up in the final period, as Katelyn Bowman scored a goal 3:19 in off passes from Hadeka and Fox. The final tally came at the 9:58 mark in the third period as Eph goalie Anna MacIntosh ’02 was induced into turning the puck over, which led to Hadeka’s second lamp lighting.

Coming off the upset, Williams dropped to 12-8-1. The loss was particularly disappointing insofar as it came on the heels of an excellent showing in the team’s previous game against Wesleyan.

In that contest, Wasserman scored a pair of goals and added an assist, and Fern Senior ’04 posted her third shutout of the season as Williams defeated the Cardinals 6-0 Saturday night.

Wasserman got into the offense right away, as she dished off her 14th assist of the season to Liz Hodgman ’05 at the 7:54 mark of the first period. After a Sophie de la Barra ’02 goal, Wasserman scored her 27th goal of the season with one minute to play in the first. That goal was assisted by Liz Toomey ’03 and Annie Snodgrass ’05.

After a scoreless second period for both teams, Toomey picked up an unassisted goal to bring the Eph lead to 4-0.

Stender made it a five-goal lead for Williams over their Little Three rival, before Wasserman took a Meara Ryan ’05 pass and beat Cardinals goalie Liz Courtney to close out the scoring.

Courtney finished the game with 28 saves for the Cardinals, while Senior only had to stop 14 shots for the shutout because of the superb Eph defense.

In Thursday night’s contest against Gustavus Adolphus, Joe Milan, women’s hockey head coach, pulled his goalie with a minute and 40 seconds remaining in the game so as to create a six-on-four advantage while the Ephs were on the power play. What resulted was a flurry of shots and a plethora of great scoring opportunities.

The only problem was Gustavus Adolphus goalie Anne Kautzer was an absolute wall. Kautzer stopped all 24 Eph shots on her way to a 1-0 shutout win for the Gusties.

The lone goal for the Gusties came with 3:26 remaining in the first period, as forward Sarah Moe made a beautiful move and beat Senior on a top-shelf wrister.

Senior remained solid for the rest of the game, stopping 24 of 25 shots, but she was overshadowed by the dominant goaltending of Kautzer.

Both defenses held very strong for the second and third periods until there was 1:30 remaining in the game and Gustavus Adolphus had a breakdown.

Wasserman somehow found herself uncovered in the Gusties zone for a breakaway opportunity. She took a crisp pass and skated into the zone.

After making a smooth deke on Kautzer, she tried to beat her with a backhand. But Kautzer was as quick as a cat, and kick saved the shot.

There was a penalty called on the play, after which the Ephs pulled Senior for the two-man advantage. The Ephs fired many shots, including a slapper from Karen Thome ’03 that was deflected in front of the net by Snodgrass for what appeared to be the equalizer. But Kautzer stopped the shot, as well as the rebound attempts that ensued until she was finally able to cover up the puck.

This loss was a tough one to swallow for the Ephs, who are ranked ninth in the country.

A victory over the sixth-ranked Gusties would have meant that they were all but guaranteed a spot in the postseason. But the loss means that they now must wait and see how things unfold in their remaining games.

The Ephs will look to close out their regular season with strong showings next weekend, as tough in-conference foes Colby and Bowdoin make the trip down to Lansing Chapman rink for Saturday night and Sunday afternoon match ups, respectively.