Women’s hockey skates to 1-1 conference split

In its first month of play, women’s ice hockey has gone 3-2 overall and 1-1 in NESCAC play. Last weekend, the women built off a 3-0 loss to Utica on Friday to trounce Sacred Heart 4-2 on Saturday. Prior to the weekend, the women opened their season with an 8-1 win over the University of New England on Nov. 24 and a split against Wesleyan on Nov. 16 and 17.

On Saturday, the women got the early lead. Nitsan Goldstein ’15 scored halfway through the first period off a redirected shot from teammate Abby Belcrest ’16 just 10 minutes into the game for a 1-0 lead. The Pioneers responded with only five minutes left in the period, sneaking the puck past goalie Chloe Billadeau ’15 to knot the tally at 1-1. However, Gabby Vukasin ’14 regained the Ephs’ one-goal lead for a 2-1 advantage at 18:04.

While both teams were scoreless in the second, Williams had a 13-3 shot advantage over Sacred Heart. In the third period, Sacred Heart scored less than two minutes in to tie play at 2-2. Perry McCarthy ’15 responded with the eventual game-winning goal, redirecting a shot from co-captain Sam Weinstein ’13. The Ephs widened their lead to 4-2 less than a minute later, as Goldstein scored her second goal of the day. Thanks to strong defense and stalwart goaltending, Williams held on to its 4-2 lead for the rest of the game, eventually outshooting Sacred Heart 42-19.

On Friday, the women took on Utica, going down by a goal just under four minutes into play. Williams was shutout in the game, giving Utica netminder Jennifer Hamel her first shutout of the season. Utica outshot Williams 32-19. Nguyen recorded 29 saves on the night.

On Nov. 24, Williams crushed non-conference foe the University of New England 8-1. Vukasin scored her first goal of the afternoon at the 7:32 mark off assists from teammates Goldstein and assistant captain Cristina Bravi ’14. Vukasin scored again only 17 seconds later to widen Williams’ lead, assisted again by Bravi. Goldstein continued the onslaught, scoring to bring the game to 3-0 in the Ephs’ favor. Williams outshot the University of New England 62-10, with Vukasin and Andree Heller ’15 both scoring hat tricks. Goldstein and Natalie Bernstein ’16 both contributed a goal to the Ephs’ victory.

Only a day after losing its season opener 2-0 to Wesleyan on Nov. 16, Williams retaliated to put Wesleyan down 2-0 on Nov. 17. Scoring off a power play from tough defensive play by Bravi and co-captain Aimee Dennett ’13, Vukasin put the Ephs on top of the Cardinals. Heller sealed the game with her goal off a redirected shot by Bernstein. With the score 2-0 with 2:55 remaining, Williams maintained its lead with great goaltending from Billadeau.

Williams was not as lucky Friday, losing to Wesleyan 2-0, despite outshooting the Cardinals 35-15. The game was scoreless until late in the third period. Wesleyan scored both of its goals in the last four minutes of play.

Williams took on St. Anselm on Tuesday at 7 p.m., but results came in too late to report. The women will next play Elmira at 7 p.m. on Saturday in the Lansing-Chapman Rink.

“Our games this week against St. Anselm and Elmira are both going to be challenging,” Weinstein noted. “These out of conference games have been great to work on our systems and get used to playing with our new lines.  St. Anselm has been having a great season and Elmira is one of the best teams in the country year in and year out, so we are really excited to see how we match up.”