Women’s ice hockey rebuilds offense

After spending her summer assisting the under-22 USA women’s hockey team, Shannon Bryant returns to Williams for her second season as Head Coach of women’s hockey. In Bryant’s inaugural season she led the Ephs to an 8-13-4 record with five wins in the NESCAC. Despite losing the team’s three leading scorer’s to graduation last year, the 2007-8 squad is ready to find success and advance far into the post-season.

Williams has large skates to fill offensively after losing five seniors to graduation, three of whom were the top scorers for the team. Ashley Wood ’07, Anna Condino ’07 and Abby Taylor ’07 led the Ephs with a combined total of 37 goals and 39 combined assists last season. Out of the 80 goals scored by the entire team last year, nearly half were put in by these three accomplished players, proving that replacing them offensively will be an enormous obstacle for the team this season.

“We lost our top three scorers from last season, but this year brings new opportunity for others to step up and get the job done,” Joey Lye ’09 said. “It will greatly be a team effort this year, and it is difficult to say which players will fill which role.”

Lye, along with teammates Tracey Ferriter ’10, Tory Taussig ’10 and Mallory Green ’09, will be crucial to the success of the Williams offense this season. All of these players scored five or more goals last year, and each had over 6 assists. With this young offense, Williams will likely surprise competitors with their talent.

Six rookies were added to the roster this season, with four of them playing forward. This fresh talent will help the more experienced upperclassmen reconstruct the team’s offensive strategy. “The first-years are impressive, and I think each and every one of them will have a huge role in the success of our team,” Lye said. “They are all great players and people.”

Women’s hockey hopes to find greater success in the regular and post-season than they had last year. After gaining an entrance into the NESCAC tournament, Williams fell in the quarterfinals to archrival Amherst in overtime, ending their season.

“We learned a lot about ourselves last year: teamwork, individual contribution, and how to push ourselves,” Lye said. “We also learned a lot about how to work with our new coach . . . Shannon has had a great impact on us, and we have been working hard together with her during these first weeks of season.”

Joining Bryant on the coaching staff are assistant coaches Michelyne Pinard. Pinard is the Head Coach for women’s soccer, and she will enter the hockey season off of an historic 16-0 conference season in soccer. The women hope her winning momentum will transfer to the hockey team.

Williams kicks off its season with the Middlebury Tournament this weekend.