Last weekend, women’s ice hockey (8-13-1, 4-9-1 in the NESCAC) suffered a pair of losses to NESCAC foe Middlebury. The Ephs fell to the top-ranked Panthers 4-1 on both Saturday and Sunday.
Williams came out with a bang against Middlebury on Sunday, scoring the first goal of the game only 4:15 into the first period. Assistant captain Crisitna Bravi ’14 scored her fifth goal of the season, unassisted, to give the Ephs an early lead. The Panthers outshot the Ephs 13-9, yet great goaltending by Chloe Billadeau ’15 kept the Ephs up 1-0 going into the second period. The second frame belonged to the Panthers as they not only tied the score but also gained a 2-1 lead before heading into the final period. In the third period, Middlebury extended its lead, scoring with 13:12 remaining. Stalwart defense and goaltending on Williams’ part kept Middlebury at bay despite a five-on-three advantage about 14 minutes into the third. Eventually, loose play caught up with the Ephs, and the Panthers scored a shorthanded goal to bring their lead to 4-1 at 18:37. Despite the 4-1 loss, Billadeau came away with 45 saves on the night.
Saturday’s game was originally scheduled for Friday night, but Williams and Middlebury met for the first time on Saturday afternoon due to winter storm Nemo. The Panthers jumped out to an early lead, scoring twice in the first 20 minutes of play. For the majority of the first, Middlebury controlled the puck, taking 15 shots to Williams’ five. Middlebury’s offensive dominance culminated in a third unanswered goal only a minute into the second period. Again, the Panthers controlled the puck for the majority of the middle frame, taking 12 shots to the Ephs’ five. Williams broke the shutout and began a late comeback effort. Co-captain Sam Weinstein ’13 got the Ephs on the board with a late goal, assisted by co-captain Aimee Dennett ’13 and Gabby Vukasin ’14. This comeback came just a little too late, however, and the Panthers pulled away with a 4-1 win, their 14th of the season. Rachel Nguyen ’14 came away with 31 saves on the night for the Ephs in net.
“Middlebury is the top team in the NESCAC, and I’m happy we were able to start off [Sunday’s] game with a lot of momentum,” Dennett said. “Bravi had an amazing goal, but we weren’t really able to carry that momentum for the rest of the game. Next weekend we’re hoping to start of strong again and get some wins against Conn. College.”
The women will end the season away at Conn. College on Friday at 7 p.m. and on Saturday at 3 p.m.