The women’s hockey team (8-10-1, 3-8-1 NESCAC) split a weekend series with conference bottom dwellers Hamilton (8-9-3, 2-8-2) last weekend, maintaining its footing as the seventh seed in the conference.
The team started off with a jolting win over the host Continentals after making the five-hour trek to Clinton, New York, the first of three away trips it will make in its closing three weeks of the season. Entering the series, the Cards had won their previous six match-ups against the only non-New England school in the ‘CAC.
They took down the Conts 2-0, behind some remarkable goaltending from Corinne Rivard ’16. Rivard pitched her second consecutive shutout, and third in four games, after she and the Birds took down Nichols College 4-0 last Wednesday. The junior net-minder became the first Wesleyan keeper since 2004 to record shutouts in back-to-back games.
This game, she faced a barrage of shots from the outset, as Hamilton threw double-digit shot totals her way in each period, totaling 34. She stopped every one of them, and Wesleyan made the most of its limited shot total, scoring twice on its 18 shots. Rivard came up big for Wes with a breakaway stop in the closing ticks of the opening period, stuffing Hamilton’s leading scorer Hannah Bartlett. She also stopped four shots in the final 90 seconds of the contest, in which Hamilton was skating six-on-four after a Wesleyan penalty.
Captain Jordan Schildhaus ’15 got the eventual game-winner early on for the Red and Black, converting her team-leading 11th goal of the season in the game’s 11th minute. Schildhaus cleaned up a rebound off of line and housemate Cara Jankowski ’15’s initial shot, giving the two-year captain her sixth assist of the year.
Schildhaus would also initiate the scoring in the third period, setting up Laura Wasnick ’15’s shot from the left circle during a power play. Ellery Sarosi ’17 was there to put the nail in the coffin with the insurance goal, redirecting Wasnick’s wrister and doubling Wesleyan’s lead to 2-0, which is how the game would end. It was Wasnick’s fifth helper of the season.
Wesleyan also stopped all three of its man-down situations, while converting on one of its own three.
Riding a two-game win streak, Wes hoped to sweep the Continentals away and leave Clinton on a high note before facing Colby next weekend. Hamilton had other plans, however, coming out with an onslaught of shots, 43 by the end of the game.
Rivard held strong for the first frame, stopping all 18 of the shots that came her way. She finally let one by at 4:48 of the second period. Steph DiPietro put home that goal on a backhander from in front of the net, after a scramble. That goal ended a scoreless streak of 144:48 for Rivard, spanning three games.
The lead was extended to two in the third period, when Sara Taffe scored for Hamilton, giving them a much-needed insurance goal at 7:26.
The goal would prove crucial for the Continentals, as the Birds had 30 seconds of power play in the waning minutes of the game. They pulled Rivard in favor of a sixth skater, and, with five seconds left in the power play, that risk paid off. Abby Rutt ’17 stepped out of the box after serving a penalty of her own, and sent home a shot off of a Wasnick pass, Wasnick’s second assist in as many games. It was Rutt’s first goal of the season.
The Cards pulled Rivard again, in the hopes of converting another opportunity, but they could not come up with the goal needed to tie the game. The Conts held a 43-18 shot advantage over Wesleyan.
Next on the agenda for the Cardinals is a trip to Waterville, Maine, for a Valentine’s Day weekend date with Colby, which sits one point back of Wesleyan in the NESCAC standings. A three-point weekend would shore up a playoff spot for the women. Anything less will leave the playoffs in doubt until the final weekend against Trinity.