Women’s ice hockey has been impressive in its first two games in almost a month, thrashing Wesleyan 4-2 on Jan. 8, just one day after a tough 1-0 loss to Trinity. The women also trounced the University of Rhode Island just before winter break. The Ephs now sit at 2-7 (2-5 in the NESCAC) for the season.
Head Coach Joey Lye is optimistic about her team’s progress. “I was very proud of the team’s overall effort last weekend. I’m excited to continue working hard and coming together as a unit,” she said.
In their most recent game, four different Ephs scored, demonstrating the offense’s potency when firing on all cylinders. Wesleyan put the pressure on in the first period, but the women were solid defensively, benefiting from expert goaltending by Catherine Tremble ’13. The period ended with the teams tied 0-0.
In the second period, Williams increased its offensive pressure. Halfway through the second period, co-captain Hannah Systrom ’12 converted a turnover into a breakaway opportunity, only to see her wrist shot clang off the left post.
It was only a matter of time until the Ephs’ strong efforts were rewarded, however. With 7:19 remaining in the second period, Nicolle Perry ’13 harnessed a pass from Becca Nichols ’13 and carried the puck into the slot, wristing the puck past Cardinal netminder Ashleigh Corvi and giving the Ephs a 1-0 lead.
Just four minutes later, co-captain Lauren Zurek ’11 cued up a pass to Haena Lee ’14 at the bottom of the circle, helping Lee notch her first goal of the season to put the Ephs up by two.
The Cardinals responded with 16 minutes to go in the game with a goal from Julia Heffelfinger to make the score 2-1, but Ally Ensor ’14 fired a shot past Corvi from the blue line just minutes later to put the Ephs back up by two at 3-1.
While Jill Reynolds of Wesleyan tightened the contest by scoring with only seven minutes remaining, Zurek responded 20 seconds later with a slap shot through Corvi’s five-hole, scoring the final goal of the game and solidifying the Ephs’ 4-2 win. Tremble’s effort in net was critical, as she made 19 saves to preserve the victory for the women.
“They saw that they could create and play with the best of them because they’re a great team,” Assistant Coach Ashley Kilstein said.
On Jan. 7, Williams suffered a heartbreaking 1-0 loss to Trinity, one of the top teams in the NESCAC. The Ephs came out strong in the first period and had several good opportunities, but the Bantams responded in kind with their own offensive pressure.
The rivals battled back and forth, but neither team was able to find the back of the net until the third period as both defenses held strong. The Ephs’ penalty-killing squad played particularly well, clearing the puck from the defensive zone over the course of six Bantam power plays.
However, with just five seconds remaining in the game, Trinity’s Jill Roloff wristed a shot through heavy traffic past rookie goaltender Rachel Nguyen ’14 for the game-winning goal.
“It’s hard to lose like that, but you learn a lot about your teammates and how much they’re willing to work for you,” Kilstein said. “That game took a lot out of them, but they became a team. It was one of those moments where people really click.”
Despite the loss, Nguyen notched an incredible 35 saves in the game. “She came up very big for the team when she was needed,” Kilsten said of the first-year. “The team definitely fed off of her. It was great to see.”
Williams also tallied an impressive win against University of Rhode Island just before break. The Dec. 11 7-1 win saw seven different Ephs score, while Nguyen held down the fort in net with another dominant performance, recording 23 saves on the game for the Ephs.
The team will finish the week by hosting the women from Middlebury at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday before traveling to Utica for a 3 p.m. Sunday game. Williams will then return to campus to host Castleton State at 7 p.m. on Tuesday.