Camels thwart women’s ice hockey

Women’s ice hockey (10-8-2, 7-4-1 in the NESCAC) entered Saturday’s away game at Conn. College on a five-game win streak: The team skated by Hamilton, Sacred Heart, Trinity, Wesleyan and Castleton after falling to Middlebury in back-to-back games. Conn. College, however, left no doubt as to whose house it was, clinching a 5-2 victory over Williams.

The Camels came out strong from the start, converting on four of 24 shots in the first and second periods, while the Ephs remained scoreless on 18 attempts. Down 1-0 after the first 20 minutes and 4-0 after the first 40 minutes, the Ephs rallied in the third period. At 4:31 in, Williams got on the scoreboard with a goal by Torrey Taussig ’10, assisted by Eliza Foster ’12 and Kait O’Brien ’10. Nicolle Perry ’13 and tri-captain Lauren Zurek ’11 got the puck to Sarah Herr ’12 in the 13th minute. Herr put the puck in the back of the net to close the gap to 4-2. Conn. College wrapped up the game with a fifth goal in the final minute of play.

“We were unable to find our rhythm in the Connecticut College game until the third period, but, unfortunately, that turned out to be too late,” Zurek said.

Williams had fared better on Friday, fighting to an impressive victory over Hamilton to improve their ranking to no. 4 in the NESCAC. The first period concluded with the evenly matched Ephs and Continentals each taking 10 looks on goal and finding the back of the net on one. Hamiliton converted at 9:49, while Williams defenseman Sam Weinstein ’13 slid one in just before the end of the first period, bringing her season goal total to four. In the second period, the Ephs out-possessed the Continentals, getting off 15 shots to Hamilton’s two. Neither team, however, was able to take the lead.

With a little under nine minutes to play in the game, tri-captain Tracey Ferriter ’10 put in the winning goal on the Ephs’ final power play, with help from Foster and Hannah Systrom ’12. Williams goaltender and tri-captain Sara Plunkett ’10 accomplished the rest, keeping Hamilton’s final eight attempts out of the net.

“We had a good game plan, but we didn’t execute in the first,”said Head Coach Marissa O’Neil. “We really came alive and got pressure on in the second.”

Williams steamrolled over Sacred Heart, closing out Tuesday’s game 5-1. The first period was scoreless, with the Pioneers and the Ephs taking six shots apiece. Thirty seconds into the second period, Systrom fed to Ferriter on a power play to begin a barrage for the Ephs, which included rapid-fire goals by Ferriter and Foster. Allison Page ’11 also notched an unassisted goal. Up 4-0 heading into the final period, the Ephs lost the shutout on a goal by Pioneer Nicole Palazzo at 11:24. Still, Williams finished the night out strong as Herr scored again with roughly three minutes to play.

In the midst of dead week on Jan. 31, the women pulled off what may have been their biggest win of the season, upsetting NESCAC third-ranked Trinity 3-2. The Ephs meant business from the beginning, setting off the red light in the first four minutes on a shot by Kate Foley ’12 that Taussig deflected in. At 14:38, another score on an Eph power play by O’Brien, who collected the puck from Zurek on the play, brought the goal tally to 2-0.

The second period saw Trinity outshoot Williams 17 to six, yet both teams managed to find the back of the net. The Bantams scored just 6:54 in, but Perry answered for the Ephs at 11:53 with help from teammates Taussig and Zurek. In the final period, Trinity closed the gap to one early on, leaving the Williams defense to battle it out. The Ephs stepped up to the challenge, turning away 16 more Trinity shots before the final buzzer.

These wins all came after a disappointing weekend against Middlebury. The women fought hard, but fell to the Panthers in back-to-back games, with scores of 6-2 and 4-2 on Jan. 22 and 23, respectively.

“Going into the next two weekends of conference play, we are going to have to play our game and set the tempo from the first drop of the puck,” Zurek said, when asked about how the team is looking at the rest of the season.

Zurek noted that the Ephs had set the goal of never being outworked by another team. “We are going to strive for that goal,” she said. “We are ready to show the conference what we can do and the level that we can play at.”

The women’s next games will be played at home against Amherst on Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 3 p.m..