Ephs stun Panthers, fall short in finals

Joe Montana, Michael Jordan, Reggie Jackson and…Molly Wasserman? That’s right, Molly Wasserman ’04. Great players get it done in the playoffs, and Wasserman can now be referred to as great after her performance in the NESCAC semi-finals.

With the Ephs’ season hanging in the balance, Wasserman scored two third-period goals to propel Williams to a major 2-1 upset of Middlebury Friday night. Both teams played excellent first period defense, with each team able to muster only four shots. In the second, Middlebury dominated by out-shooting the Ephs 7-0, and Kristin Reid scored a power play goal off a failed clear.

“Middlebury’s got an amazingly talented team, of course, but I think just wanted it more than they did,” Wasserman said. “We played with more heart.” Trailing 1-0 heading into the third, the Eph defense buckled down and Wasserman geared up for crunch time.

Wasserman’s first goal was a power play rebound of a Karen Thome ’03 shot, that goal set a new all-time record at Williams for points in a career (119). Then, with 2:10 remaining, the NESCAC Player of the Year deeked a defender and broke in all alone before beating Panther goalie Megan Hutchinson with a wrister.

“It’s always exciting to break records and all that,” Wasserman said about her assault on the record books. “But I think that whatever I’ve accomplished is more a credit to my teammates than anything I do personally; they get me the puck and I just put it in.”

Not to be forgotten in this huge win was the stellar play of Eph goalie Anna MacIntosh ’02. The senior, who has only allowed two goals in the playoffs, played like a woman possessed, as she turned back 20-of-21 shots in her direction.

The loss was the Panthers’ first ever in Kenyon Arena, and the win put the Ephs in the NESCAC title game against Bowdoin.

“I think we just played a really good game against Middlebury,” tri-captain Sophie de la Barra ’02 said. “We played for a full 60 minutes; we were really tough in our D-zone which made a huge difference.”

After a valiant postseason effort, however, Williams College is going to have to call it a season after a 2-1 loss to Bowdoin in the NESCAC finals Saturday night.

Bowdoin held off a late surge by Williams as its team captured the NESCAC Championship by a score of 2-1. The Polar Bears received an automatic bid to the NCAA Div. III Tournament and will play Middlebury tonight.

Bowdoin opened the scoring 6:56 into the contest as Gillian McDonald, fresh off a natural hat-trick the previous night, scored after driving to the net with a five-hole shot on MacIntosh.

Beth Muir scored a four-on-four goal at 13:42 into the first, as she picked up a puck from behind the goal and stuffed it in the back of the net. Williams was even in shots on goal throughout the game, but in the final minutes they put on the heavy pressure. Wasserman finally broke the ice for the Ephs as she scored a power play goal with 2:25 remaining in the contest to make it a 2-1 tally in favor of Bowdoin.

“We didn’t play as tough against Bowdoin; we just weren’t as mentally tough in that game, unfortunately,” de la Barra said. “We definitely had some great scoring opportunities, but that’s hockey, the pucks just didn’t bounce our way.

“We’ve been coming together as a group all season, and that game against Middlebury was our best all season.”

The Ephs managed to put more pressure on after pulling MacIntosh, but could not score the equalizer despite outshooting the Polar Bears 22-19.

Emily McKissock made 21 saves for Bowdoin, while MacIntosh closed out a stellar post season effort with 17 saves.