Women’s hockey drops Mules

Women’s ice hockey (11-3, 7-9 in the NESCAC) finished its regular season on a high note this weekend, defeating Conn. College 3-1 on Saturday and 2-1 on Friday  in the team’s last two home games of the season. 

Williams capped off the triumphant weekend with a 3-1 victory on Saturday thanks in part to strong opening efforts from the seniors. With all five seniors starting, the Ephs came out of the locker room with a bang. Quickly gaining a man-up advantage off a Camel penalty, the Ephs capitalized on early offensive efforts. Sam Weinstein ’13 put the Ephs on the scoreboard after controlling a pass from Sarah Herr ’12, ripping a low shot into the Camels’ net just 0:36 into the game. The score remained locked at 1-0 for the rest of the period despite multiple power-play opportunities for both teams.

Moving into the second period, both teams remained neck and neck, with the Ephs only seeing one strong scoring opportunity in the first 13 minutes. Neither team found the back of the net until a late shot from Weinstein increased the Ephs’ lead to two. Assisted by co-captain Hannah Systrom ’12 and Gabrielle Vukasin ’14, Weinstein finished the play with a top-shelf wrist shot that deflected off a Camel’s stick into the net 19:26 into the second frame. The Camels also found some offensive momentum, scoring only 10 seconds after Weinstein’s goal to tighten the score to 2-1 in the Ephs’ favor. Stalwart goaltending by Chloe Billadeau ’15 allowed the Ephs to hold onto their lead for the rest of the period.

The women held their advantage throughout the third. Cristina Bravi ’14 fortified the lead with an empty-netter with 2:13 remaining. The Ephs went on to win the game 3-1 despite the Camels’ best efforts to rally.

Williams again drew first blood on Friday night, pulling away with a two-goal lead early into the first matchup with Conn. College. Eliza Foster ’12 was first to find the back of the net only 1:23 into the first period. After killing off a penalty, the Ephs were able to extend their lead to 2-0 with a goal from Vukasin late in the period. Vukasin scored on a rebound from Systrom’s shot with only 2:20 remaining in the first.

The Camels were unable to retaliate until halfway through the second period, when they controlled a loose puck and found the back of the net. Despite the Camels’ continued offensive intensity, Billadeau, who finished the game with 20 saves, repeatedly turned away Conn. College’s offensive strikes in order to preserve the Ephs’ lead.

The third period was deadlocked, as both teams unsuccessfully tried to capitalize on man-up opportunities. The women  kept Conn. College at bay to pick up their 11th win of the season and seventh NESCAC victory.

“It was an awesome way to end the regular season for us,” Systrom said. “We knew Conn. College was going to be a hard match-up, but we battled throughout weekend and came away with two wins. Especially for the seniors, with it being our last home game ever, it was nice to have such a strong finish.”

The women will take on Bowdoin in the NESCAC quarterfinals at Bowdoin this weekend. The Polar Bears will host the team at 1 p.m. on Saturday.