The Wesleyan women’s ice hockey team kicked off its 2011-12 campaign on Nov. 18 with a 5-3 win over its Little Three rival Williams College. Wes earned it’s first victory in Williamstown in 13 years due to an aggressive offense, paced by a hat trick from Kelsey Muller ’13 and with a strong defensive stand from goalie Ashleigh Corvi ’13. The Cardinals went on to split the weekend matchup, falling the next day to the Ephs by a score of 5-4 before suffering a 2-1 loss at home this past Sunday to the undefeated Holy Cross Crusaders.
Wesleyan started off the season with an offensive burst against Williams, scoring on its opening possession as Jenna Vanderlinden ’14 tipped in a pass from co-captain M.J. Cardin ’12 for the team’s first goal of the year. The Lady Cards added to their total in the first period when Muller tallied her first score of the game, deflecting a shot from Becca Koppel ’13 into the back of the net to take a 2-0 lead.
Williams would add the next two goals of the game to even the score at two apiece, but the third period belonged to the Cardinals, who fought hard to pull away with the lead. Muller’s second goal of the night gave Wesleyan a 3-2 advantage that would only stand for a minute as the Ephs rallied to level the score. Fortunately, the Cardinals capitalized on a power play soon after when Jordan Schildhaus ’15 scored her first career goal to push Wesleyan to a 4-3 lead. Corvi made 32 saves in the contest for the Cardinals, as Muller secured her hat trick with just seconds remaining to give Wesleyan a 5-3 win.
That opening night win in Williamstown was the first road victory against the Ephs since 1998, setting a new tone for this season. For this year’s Cardinal squad, confidence is key.
“We have put in a lot more work and have made the extra effort and it is nice that in the first game of the season it all paid off," Corvi said. "It is tangible progress that you could see on the scoreboard and that we can carry with us for the rest of the year. And now we are going into tough games with a much different state of mind and a more competitive attitude.”
The Cardinals were unable however to come away with a sweep when the two teams met again the next day, with Williams taking the victory in a hard-fought 5-4 battle. Wesleyan tallied goals from Schildhaus, co-captain Jill Reynolds ’12, and Laura Wasnick ’15, but entered the final period in a 3-3 deadlock. A goal by Julia Mulhern ’12 put Wesleyan ahead, but not for long, as the Ephs responded with two power-play goals to secure the victory and a weekend split.
Wesleyan returned home this past Sunday and faced off against an unbeaten Holy Cross team but were unable to overcome a 2-0 deficit as the Crusaders escaped with a 2-1 victory. Schildhaus netted her third goal of the year in the third period, and Corvi posted 36 saves, but the Cardinals could not find the equalizer as they fell to 1-2 on the season. Corvi was also named NESCAC Player of the Week for her work in goal, totaling over 30 saves in each of the season’s first three contests.
“We build from our previous games to make sure that we improve in our future games,” said Cardin, as Wesleyan looks to get back in the win column. They’ll get that chance this weekend as the Cardinals host Amherst College on Friday at 7 p.m., with a rematch coming Saturday at 3 p.m. in another Little Three showdown.