Women’s ice hockey gains back-to-back wins

Natalie Bernstein ’16 crouches to receive the puck on Friday’s game against the Camels. Photo courtesy of sports information.
Natalie Bernstein ’16 crouches to receive the puck on Friday’s game against the Camels. Photo courtesy of sports information.

Women’s hockey (11-5-0, 7-3-0 in the NESCAC) defeated Conn. College 2-1 last Saturday at home after beating the Camels 5-4 on Friday in the team’s fifth double-header against a NESCAC opponent. Tri-captain Eliza Noyes ’16 scored the game-winning goal – and her first goal of the season – for the Ephs on Saturday at 18:53 in the final period. Noyes’s goal followed one by Alex Lovaas ’18, who earned the NESCAC Women’s Hockey Player of the Week on Jan. 24 for her performance in this week’s three games of play.

“The week leading up to the games this weekend was a bit abnormal as we had an away game on Tuesday night,” tri-captain Talia Simon ’16 said. “The team did a great job focusing for practice on Wednesday and Thursday to get ready for Conn [by] watching video and practicing systems.”

The first period of the Saturday game began with Chelsey Stevenson ’17 testing Conn. goalie Katherine Chester early on with a low shot blocker side that Chester deflected to the corner. When the Camels went on the power play at 5:19, the Ephs stepped up to earn the penalty kill. Emily Eide ’18 blocked a slap shot from the point, and the Ephs’ defense cleared the puck several times over.

After a scramble in front of Cleroux’s net with 25 seconds to go in the period, the goalie cleared the puck past the blue line with a kick save, making 11 saves in the period.

The Camels went back on the power play at 8:55 in the second period but could not get anything into the back of the net. Play went up and down the ice after the Ephs’ penalty kill but, at 16:20 off a zone entry, Lovaas found the goal to give the Ephs a 1-0 lead with an assist from Michaela Levine ’16. The score marked Lovaas’s fifth goal of the season.

Cleroux continued her strong play into the third period. Cleroux made two consecutive pad saves off shots, leading the Ephs to their fifth penalty kill of the game.

Building momentum off their penalty kill, the Camels’ offense rushed the net. After a scramble in front of Cleroux’s net, Katlyn Paiva buried the puck for the Camels with just under three minutes to go in the game to bring the score to 1-1.

The Ephs responded a minute and a half later when Noyes scored the game-winning goal at 18:53 off a joint assist from Emily Krueger ’17 and Candy Lu ’18, making the board read 2-1 for the Ephs. Though the Camels pulled their goalie after the tri-captain’s goal, they failed to capitalize on the one-man advantage and the Ephs took the win.

Friday night’s game against Conn. ended in a thrilling 5-4 victory for Williams when Levine netted a power play goal just under six minutes after Natalie Bernstein ’16 broke a 3-3 tie in the third period. The Ephs proceeded to score again at 12:10 thanks to the efforts of Levine, bringing their lead up to two. In spite of the Camels putting an additional point on the board at 18:48, the Ephs continued to fight and ultimately emerged victorious.

“Our team did a great job of competing all weekend and continuing to stay positive and focused when we faced adversity,” Head Coach Meghan Gillis said. “We found ourselves in many different situations over the course of the two games: being ahead, losing a lead, coming back, a penalty shot, getting scored on late and then quickly capitalizing, for example.”

According to Gillis, the double games on one weekend allowed the team to regroup and assess their first performance before heading into the second.

“The biggest thing between Friday night and Saturday afternoon was to find out how we gave up the majority of scoring chances against and make an adjustment to reduce those, and then study how we created most of our scoring chances.”

“The NESCAC is a super competitive league and beating a team twice in back-to-back games is a major challenge,” Simon said.

On Jan. 19, the women battled Manhattanville for an eventual 2-1 win after coming back from a 1-0 deficit. This win followed an exciting weekend when the women split games against Colby. The Ephs fell 3-1 on Jan. 15 before topping the Mules 2-1 on Jan. 16. On Jan. 12, the women defeated Salve Regina 1-0. The women battled NESCAC foe Bowdoin on Jan. 8 and Jan. 9, the first game resulting in a 7-1 win and the second ending in a 3-2 loss.

The women also fell to Elmira 2-1 on Jan. 2 but emerged victorious over Utica on Dec. 12 with a final score of 2-1.

The women look forward to competing at Amherst in another double-header weekend starting this Friday at 7 p.m.

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