Women’s ice hockey caps year with pair of wins

With the season coming to a close, women’s ice hockey (5-17-2, 3-12-1 in the NESCAC) defeated opponents Hamilton (6-14-4) and Wesleyan (5-16-1) to cap the year with their second weekend of double wins. The Ephs overcame the Continentals 2-1 on Saturday after a 3-1 victory over the Cardinals on Friday.

On Saturday, the women began their second game of the weekend against Hamilton, who had just suffered a staggering 7-0 loss to top-ranked Middlebury. With the momentum from their previous game, Joey Lye ’09 scored an early goal four minutes into the first period, assisted by Kait O’Brien ’10. The Ephs lost no time in gaining more ground, netting another point one minute later. Elspeth MacMillan ’08 scored the second goal, and Mallory Green ’09 collected an assist on the play.

The dual goals were enough for the Ephs to hold through a scoreless second period and the game, despite the number of penalties incurred. The women collected seven of their eight penalties before 14 minutes into the third period, when Hamilton roused itself for its only goal of the game. Kathryn Kroleski scored at 14:16 on the game’s only powerplay, with assists by Cindy Lukianchuk and Jodi Raymond.

The Ephs maintained control, however, and finished the game with 30 shots on goal. Hamilton concluded the game with only 21 shots on goal and 4 penalties. The Ephs were finally able to claim victory over the Continentals, who won the Nov. 23 match-up in a 2-1 victory.

In response to the weekend’s twin victories, Head Coach Shannon Bryant affirmed the team’s dedication and poise going into both games.

“We played very relaxed hockey – there was no pressure – and it played out to our benefit,” Bryant said. “We played a high tempo game both times and really put the pressure on both teams, and the result was a couple of wins for us.”

Captain Caralyn Quan ’08 also showed great satisfaction with the weekend and especially with the players. “In retrospect, it’s easy to say that we haven’t played this relaxed,” Quan said. “But this weekend we just went out and had a lot of fun. It’s been a tough year, but we have a great group of girls here.”

Friday’s game against Wesleyan opened on an equally strong note with a successful powerplay in the first period. Tracey Ferriter – with assists by Lauren Zurek ’11 and Green – put the puck in the goal at 12:19. Quan took the subsequent point for the Ephs in the second period on a short-handed goal, and Allison Page ’11 collected an assist. Wesleyan’s Hannah Jackson scored the next point on an unassisted powerplay four minutes into the third period, but the women would not stop at two. Sam Tarnasky ’09 completed the Eph’s scoring a tight five seconds before the end of the game, scoring on an empty net.

The Ephs registered a formidable 45 shots on goal over the ten shots posed by the Cardinals. The women still brought home more penalties however, edging Wesleyan four to three. Friday’s outcome marks the women’s second win over Wesleyan after their 4-3 success on Nov. 25, their first win of the season.

On concluding the year and looking forward to the next, Bryant remained optimistic and pleased with the squad.

“I was really impressed with my group for sticking it out and getting better every week, and controlling what we could although it didn’t always show up on the scoreboard,” Bryant said. “We had positives that we will take with us into next season, like persistence, determination, and facing adversity with a competitive spirit, which are things we did very well this year.”

On the season, Tarnasky was the women’s leading scorer, boasting ten goals and 11 assists. Goalie Denise McCulloch ’08 finished with 608 saves.

“The seniors were an especially great group leadership wise,” said Bryant. “They kept the team on track and finished strong with two wins, being competitive right to very end. I’d like to thank them, and I’m really proud.”