Women’s hockey barely loses to second ranked Bowdoin, blanks Colby

Women’s hockey traveled to Maine this weekend for the last games of its regular season. The women wrapped up third place in NESCAC last weekend, but the games against Colby and second-ranked Bowdoin were still important as tune-ups for the upcoming conference tournament. A strong performance would also mean an improved chance at acquiring an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament in March.

The Ephs took on first-place Bowdoin on Saturday. Back on Jan. 17, the Polar Bears were the last team to defeat the Ephs, 3-1 in Williamstown. Since then, Williams had played 10 straight games without a defeat. Despite a strong performance from the women, however, Bowdoin was once again able to squeak out a victory, 3-2, over the Ephs.

Bowdoin’s defense has been strong this year, allowing only one goal per game in conference play, but Williams managed to strike first as Erika Latham ’06 scored at 8:41 of the first period with assists from Annie Snodgrass ’05 and Melissa Vandermyn ’06. The Ephs managed only 5 shots to Bowdoin’s 14 for the period, but strong goaltending from Monelle Quevillon ’03 kept the Polar Bears scoreless for the first period.

The Bowdoin goal-scorers were able to take advantage of a pair of Eph penalties early in the second period, however, as Gillian McDonald and Beth Muir put in power-play goals at 5:34 and 7:10 of the second. The Ephs could not find a way to put the puck past Bowdoin goaltender Emily McKissock in the second period, and entered the third with a one-goal deficit.

The Polar Bears were also first on the board in the third period, as Ba Lanoue took advantage of a lapse in the Williams power-play unit to score a shorthanded goal at 6:58. The Polar Bears dominated the third, taking 21 shots on goal, but Vandermyn brought the Ephs back within one with a goal assisted by Snodgrass at 17:03. Unfortunately for Williams, however, there was not enough time to tie up the contest and the game finished in a tough one-goal defeat.

The shorthanded goal was the third against the Ephs this season, and hopefully the Ephs will concentrate on improving this aspect of their special teams play. The shorthanded goals have been indicative of the Ephs’ susceptibility to costly mental mistakes. The Ephs have proven their ability to play strong for 90 percent of the game, but, according to Ellissa Popoff ’06, eliminating these mistakes will be critical to Williams’ success against the stronger NESCAC schools.

On Friday, a strong all-around effort allowed the Ephs to hand fifth-place Colby a 4-0 loss. The Ephs have owned the Mules this season, as they also defeated them 3-1 at home earlier in the year. The first period was relatively quiet as the Ephs took 11 shots but were unable to put any past Colby goalie Lynn Hasday. Quevillon was also able to hold off the anemic Mule offense.

Taylor Tyson ’06 was the first to score for the Ephs at 12:39 of the second period with an assist from Carrie Miller ’06. The Williams defense also stayed strong, allowing only two shots on goal, but the women would have to wait until the third period before putting the game out of reach.

Snodgrass was the first Eph to score in the third period as she netted a goal at the 9:26 mark with an assist from Latham. Later, at 14:21, last week’s NESCAC player of the week Rachel Barr ’06, scored off an assist from Snodgrass. Barr also assisted with Vandermyn at 16:47 as Meara Ryan ’05 capped off the scoring for the Ephs. Quevillon stopped ten shots to earn her fourth shutout of the season.

The Ephs eagerly anticipate the return of top goal-scorer Molly Wasserman ’04, who is recovering from a leg injury and expects to be back on the ice next weekend. The women are also hopeful that Wendy Stone ’05 can return from her back injury in time to help out the under-manned defensive unit.

The NESCAC tournament starts next weekend as the Ephs take on sixth place Wesleyan here in Williamstown. In their last match-up, the Ephs won with an exciting last-second goal from Vandermyn. Assuming the Ephs advance in the tournament, they will travel back to Bowdoin the following weekend for the semifinals.