Women’s hockey falls to Panthers

Women’s ice hockey (8-11-3, 5-7-2 in the NESCAC) wrapped up a busy few days last Saturday, competing in three games during the first week of the semester against Sacred Heart and Middlebury. The Ephs finished the week 0-1-2 with a tie against the Pioneers and two losses against the Panthers.

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The women entered their game on Saturday against No. 3 Middlebury looking to avenge the loss from the night before. The second game of the mini-series took place at Middlebury in Middlebury, Vt.

The Ephs held strong behind more impressive goal keeping by Christina Cleroux ’18, not allowing a goal until 12 minutes into the second period, when Middlebury’s Maddie Winslow netted an unassisted goal, taking advantage of an exhausted Williams defense. Three more Panther goals in the third period, two by Emily Fluke and one by Jessica Young, gave the game to the Panthers 4-0.

“We knew we had a chance to upset a very good Middlebury team so we just wanted to work hard and stick to our game,” said co-captain Nitsan Goldstein ’15, reflecting on their preparation.

After some tough hockey, the first game against Middlebury resulted in 2-1 loss at home. The first goal came from Middlebury freshman Jessica Young at 3:20 in the first period, her 13th goal of the season. Williams followed up this shot with solid defense led by Cleroux. The Ephs kept the Panthers from finishing a power play and continued to battle for the remainder of the first period. At 7:31 in the second period, a shot by Hanna Beattie ’17 rebounded off the Middlebury goalie. Eliza Noyes ’16 took advantage of the loose puck and sent it flying into the back of the Middlebury net to make the score 1-1.

Unfortunately, Williams failed to hold off another Middlebury power play midway through the second period, and the Panthers went up 2-1. The momentum built up for the Ephs in the third period, but despite solid shots from Emily Krueger ’17, they could not net another goal.

The Panther’s extended their winning streak to 18 games and moved into first in the conference following the weekend.

On Feb. 10, a rescheduled matchup with out-of-conference opponent Sacred Heart ended in a 2-2 draw. The Ephs got on the board first with a goal by Perry McCarthy ’15 at 2:38 into the first period, her first of the season. McCarthy buried the rebound that followed a forced turnover and shot by Beattie.

Williams continued to pressure hard, outshooting Sacred Heart 19 to six in the first period and forcing several key rebounds from Sacred Hart goalie Amanda Fontaine. The second goal of the game came at 8:15 from Williams’ Noyes. The play started with a pass from defender Emily Eide ’18 to Chelsey Stevenson ’17. Stevenson fired a shot that was tipped in by Noyes. Like McCarthy’s, this was Noyes’ first goal of the season.

At 18:59 in the first period, almost the one-minute mark, Sacred Heart freshman Taylor Moreland set herself up in front of the goal to receive a behind the net pass from Casey Stathopoulos. Moreland buried the shot in the top of the net, marking the fifth goal of her season and Stathopoulos’s 18th assist.

The first period finished with the Ephs leading the Pioneers 2-1.

Despite outshooting their opponents 36-10 and having three power plays, the women could not score again in the final two periods. However, the Pioneers capitalized on their lone penalty play with a goal by Brittany Smith at just under a minute to play in the second period. The game ended in a 2-2 tie.

“Our forecheck was strong this weekend, which gave us a lot of scoring chances. We need to capitalize on those chances to put us in a better position to win tight games,” said Goldstein. “Conn. [College] is a strong team, but if we work hard this week and play two complete games we should be successful and put ourselves in the best position come playoff time.”

The women will travel to Conn. College this weekend for their final series of the regular season.