Women’s hockey earns spot in playoffs

Women’s ice hockey (9-14-1, 5-10-1 in the NESCAC) earned a split last weekend against Conn. College. With the split, the Ephs look forward to a chance to perform in the NESCAC tournament, where they will compete as the seven seed.

The women went into their second game against Conn. College last weekend hoping to sweep the home team and gain a favorable seeding for the upcoming conference tournament. Williams was first on the scoreboard, scoring on a power-play opportunity. The early goal from Michaela Levine ’16, assisted by Nitsan Goldstein ’15 and Andree Heller ’15, put the Ephs up by one with 17:01 remaining in the first period. The Ephs held off the Camels for almost the entirety of the first period thanks to strong goaltending by Chloe Billadeau ’15. Conn. College eventually found the back of the net, however, tying things up at 1-1 with 5:06 to go in the first period.

The second period proved to be very physical, with both teams gaining multiple power-play advantages. Neither team capitalized on its man-up advantages, however, as the second period remained tied 1-1. Conn. College outshot Williams 27-22 by the second period, but Billadeau turned the Camels away in the second.

The third period was less successful for the Ephs, as the Camels came out firing. Only 53 seconds into the final frame, Conn. College gained its first lead of the game. They extended that lead to two goals only two minutes later. The Ephs called a timeout with 3:11 remaining in the game, hoping to turn the tide in their favor. This timeout proved effective, as Levine scored her second goal of the day to cut the Camels’ lead to two. This comeback effort was too late, however, and the game closed with the score at 4-2 in Conn. College’s favor.

The women’s first game against Conn. College was a nail-biter, going past regulation and into overtime. Co-captain Sam Weinstein ’13 put the Ephs up by a goal, scoring unassisted at the 10:52 mark. Although Williams continued to pester the Conn. College goaltender with shots on net, both teams remained scoreless for the rest of the first period. The Camels dominated the second period, taking 16 shots to the Ephs’ seven, but neither team scored in the second. Conn. College continued the offensive onslaught into the third frame, finally slipping a puck past Billadeau at 0:26. The Ephs, however, regained the lead thanks to a smooth transition play by Goldstein and Caitlin Conlon ’15, who set up co-captain Aimee Dennett ’13 in the slot.

Although the Camels tied it up to send the game into overtime, the Ephs came out victorious with a man-up goal by Gabby Vukasin ’14. Only 39 seconds into overtime, Williams finally clinched the game with Vukasin’s second overtime game-winner this season. Billadeau closed out the game with 36 saves to Conn. College’s 26.

“Friday was a really exciting overtime win,” Weinstein said. “We played well the entire game, and it was great to come out with the victory. We weren’t as consistent on Saturday, but there were still some great moments during the game and we continued to fight until the buzzer, which showed a lot of heart.”

The team will travel to Maine to take on Bowdoin this Saturday in the first round of the NESCAC tournament. The Ephs enter the playoffs seeded No. 7, while the Polar Bears are seeded No. 2.  Faceoff will be at 4 p.m.

“We are really excited to play Bowdoin this weekend,” Weinstein said. “The first time we played [on Jan. 25], we tied 1-1, and we are just prepping for a great game on Saturday.”