Women’s ice hockey drops two in grueling conference weekend

Coming off a disappointing weekend, women’s ice hockey (6-6, 3-3 NESCAC) looks to improve its standing as it heads into the heart of what could be a long and grueling winter season. In their matchups against Hamilton at home last weekend, the women lost 6-3 on Saturday and 3-1 on Friday, bringing the team to a .500 winning percentage.

Taking on Hamilton at home on Saturday, the women were hoping to win in order to earn a split for the weekend. Samantha Cutts ’15 drew first blood against the Continentals, scoring off a pass from teammate Gabrielle Vukasin ’14 only 6:05 into the first period. Hamilton retaliated, scoring six minutes later to tie things up on a power play. Williams bolstered its defense to keep its opponents scoreless for the rest of the period.

The Ephs kept this pressure up throughout the beginning of the second period, keeping the Continentals scoreless despite their advantage during yet another power play. Going on the offensive, assistant captain Cristina Bravi ’14 scored her second goal in two nights off a rebounded shot by Vukasin. Talia Simon ’16 recorded an assist on the play. Going into the third period, the women had a tight 2-1 lead that they fought hard to create during the first 40 minutes of play. Hamilton, however, caught fire in the third and final period. The Continentals scored back-to-back goals, beginning with a successful shot only 20 seconds into the period. Hamilton went on to score five more goals that period. Williams made an attempt at a comeback after another goal from Bravi, assisted by Cutts and co-captain Sam Weinstein ’13 at 18:17. However, Hamilton quickly put this comeback to rest, scoring its sixth and final goal only 51 seconds later. The Continentals took the game 6-3.

“The loss was pretty disappointing since we were up 2-1 going into the third period and they scored a few quick goals that really set us back and made it difficult to come back,” Bravi said. “However, we didn’t give up and kept playing until the end, so that was really great and encouraging to see from everyone.”

The women suffered a similar fate on Friday night, losing to Hamilton 3-1. The game remained tied at zero for more than half of the first period, until Hamilton capitalized on a power-play advantage. Hamilton continued to dominate play, taking seven shots to the women’s one. The Ephs finally began to see the momentum shift in their favor early into the second period when Bravi tied the score at 1-1. Weinstein and Caitlin Conlon ’15 assisted the play. The score remained tied at 1-1 for the next 18 minutes of play, but the Continentals broke the ice. Scoring an unassisted goal heading out of the second period, Hamilton took back the lead at 2-1. Hamilton was in control yet again in the third period, as the Continentals scored another tally to finish the game at 3-1. Goalie Chloe Billadeau ’15 recorded 19 saves on the night.

On Jan. 8, New England College defeated Williams in a close, hard-battled away game. Although Williams took eight shots to New England College’s two, they couldn’t seem to find the back of the net. Play continued in this way until the end of the third period. With five minutes remaining in the game, New England College finally broke the tie to win the game.

Williams had much more luck against NESCAC foe, Trinity on Jan. 4 and Jan. 5. Defeating the Bantams 2-0 on Jan. 5, the Ephs built off the previous night’s victory. Hadley DesMeules ’16 and Weinstein each scored a goal in the first period, coming out hard and fast to put the Ephs at a good advantage. Williams held on to this advantage for the rest of the game thanks to stalwart defense and goaltending, as well as strong offensive efforts.

In a slightly tighter contest, Williams defeated Trinity to give them two victories on the weekend. Although the Bantams controlled the beginning of the contest, Williams found the back of the net just one more time than their competition. The combined goal scoring of Haena Lee ’14, Andree Heller ’15 and Michaela Levine ’16 put the Ephs over the Bantams.

At home on Dec. 8, Williams fell to Elmira 6-0. Billadeau recorded 34 saves on the night, compared to Elmira goaltender Lauren Sullivan’s 18 saves.

The women will take on Plattsburgh State on Wednesday away at 7 p.m. before challenging NESCAC competitor Colby on Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 3 p.m. in Waterville, Me, where they will look to improve on their conference record.