Women’s ice hockey (3-2-1, 3-0-1 in the NESCAC) suffered its first two losses of the season last weekend, first to Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) 7-3 on Saturday and then to Buffalo State 3-2 on Sunday.
On Sunday, Williams looked to bounce back from a tough loss to RIT against Buffalo State. Interestingly, the Ephs started rookie Catherine Tremble ’13 in the goalbox, giving their all-NESCAC goalie, Sara Plunkett ’10, time off the ice. Plunkett played every minute last year.
The Ephs struck first with a goal from Sam Weinstein ’13 on a power play off a deflection with 3:42 left in the first period.
Plunkett entered the game as the second period began. Bengal first-year Courtney Carnes evened the contest with a shot from the top of the box 6:56 into the period. Buffalo State took the lead with a goal by junior Katie Olejarski two minutes later. With 2:37 left in the period, Williams forward Nicolle Perry ’13 tied the game with an aggressive push to the goal.
The only goal in the third period was by Olejarski, who had a clear shot from straight on just over three minutes into the period during a power play. Williams dominated the shot total for the rest of the period but was unable to get a goal. The women had a power play for the last 1:20 of the game and took a timeout to plan their last attempt with 14 seconds left but were unable to score. The game ended with a Bengals’ 3-2 victory.
“We were frustrated [after the loss to RIT] and wanted to come out flying,” said captain Lauren Zurek ’11. “Unfortunately we didn’t come together to meet that goal.”
On Saturday night, the Ephs took on RIT, who entered the contest undefeated, ranked seventh nationally and respected for their physical play. At first the Ephs were outplayed by the Tigers, who attacked the net persistently from the start. Tiger Sarah Dagg scored the first goal off a rebound just over 10 minutes into the game. Only a couple minutes later, Tiger forward Missy Hall received a pass just in front of the net and scored, putting her team on top 2-0.
The second period showcased a more aggressive Williams squad. Just two minutes in, Williams forward Torrey Taussig ’10 got Williams on the board with a close shot off of a rebound, exploiting a two-man advantage. Soon after, Williams was given another golden opportunity to score. They had the one-man advantage and good puck movement put the Tiger defenders off balance: Kristen Tubbs ’12 was able to swoop in and registered her first goal of the season to tie the game 2-2. Tracy Ferriter ’10 tallied assists on both Eph goals. She scored a go-ahead goal for the Ephs on her own; during another power play, she shot from the side of the net, and the puck bounced off a Bengal skate and into the net. This prompted the Tiger coach to switch goalies.
“In the first period, we were playing scared because of the record and ranking, but in the second period we knew they were just another team, and we played our game and were successful,” said Zurek.
Unfortunately, the Ephs could not keep it up, as the third period resembled the first. The Tigers scored two quick goals to put themselves back on top, 4-3. Kristina Moss scored the go-ahead goal through the legs of goalie Plunkett barely three minutes into the final period. The Ephs then had two power plays but could not even the score. With five minutes left in the game, Tubbs looked to score on a breakaway, but a Bengal defender collided into her, stopping the potential goal. In the collision, Tubbs slammed against the wall and went down with a leg injury. She did not return to the game.
The Bengals soon went up by two off Hall’s second goal of the night with four minutes to go. The Eph emptied the net to add more shooters, but the Bengals took advantage and scored two more to seal the game, 7-3.
Despite these setbacks, the Ephs are having a good start to the season. They were previously undefeated and played at least one dominant period against a ranked team. The Ephs won their first three games this season and in commanding style. They opened against Hamilton and won 2-0, moved on to Conn. College, winning 5-0, and finally defeated Colby 4-0. The women tied against Bowdoin, 2-2, which also brought the Ephs’ first two allowed goals of the season.
“We trying to take our heads off of what happened, but we are excited about our start,” said Zurek. “We’ve played good opponents, and we just have to look forward to every game.”
The women will now take on Utica on Saturday on home ice at 2 p.m.