The women’s hockey team opened their season on Saturday with a dominant performance, blanking the Wildcats of Johnson and Wales University by a score of 9-0.
Nine different Cardinals contributed goals in the rout, including four first-years. The Wesleyan underclassmen had a fantastic performance overall, with four sophomores also contributing to the scoring.
“It was a great first game,” said Jess Brennan ’17. “We had five girls score their first collegiate goals, including four freshmen. Though we’re excited about winning by such a large margin this weekend, we know Tuesday our opponent won’t be so easy to beat. So our focus now is on Tuesday and what we have to do to win our home opener.”
Plagued by injury and illness, the Wildcats drop to 0-8-0 on the season, while Wesleyan begins its campaign at 1-0-0.
Sarah Goss ’19 scored her first career point just three minutes into the first period with a fantastic individual play, collecting a loose puck at the Wildcat blue line and firing a shot hard and low on goal. The shot trickled through the pads of the Johnson and Wales goaltender to give the Birds the 1-0 advantage.
Fellow first-year Jackie Kilar ’19 made the score 2-0 a short time later. Kilar collected the puck below the goal line on the right side and circled back to the top of the slot where she unleashed a stinger, which beat the Wildcat netminder over her left shoulder. Grace Keogh ’19 and Gina Mangiafridda ’19 both scored rebound goals to push the score to 4-0 in the Cardinals favor at the close of the first period.
The second period saw little action, with no points scored by either team. The Wildcat offense looked slow and lethargic, failing to forecheck in favor of playing a trap, which proved ineffective. Wesleyan continued to dominate play, peppering the opposing goalie throughout the entire period. Despite giving up nine goals, the Johnson and Wales goalie finished with a total of 79 saves.
Action picked back up in the third period, with a Wesleyan squad that had noticeably settled in, and a JWU squad which showed its frustration, taking many penalties. Three different Cardinals scored power play goals in the third period, extending the Wesleyan lead.
Abby Rutt ’17 reopened the scoring just under nine minutes into the third period, when she took a Wildcat defender one-on-one and snapped a quick wrist shot for the bar-down goal. Alex Horton ’18 scored her second career tally, burying a rebound from a blistering Laura Mead ’17 shot to give the Red and Black the 6-0 advantage.
She was the first of a trio of Wesleyan sophomores to score power-play goals in the final period. She was joined on the scoresheet by Cici Frattasio ’18 and Maddie Nash ’18 in rapid succession. Brennan rounded out the scoring in the final minute of play.
Goalkeeper Laura Corcoran ’16 earned the shutout win, turning aside seven shots. Wesleyan’s dominance showed on the scoresheet, which showed an advantage of 88-7 in shots in favor of the Cardinals when the final horn sounded.
The Cardinals have their home opener this Tuesday at Spurrier-Snyder Week, with a matchup against Sacred Heart University. Last season, the Red and Black beat Sacred Heart in a 1-0 away thriller. They will look to build on that victory on Tuesday and improve to 2-0-0 on the season.
The Pioneers currently sit at 0-4-0 with losses to the University of Rhode Island and the College of the Holy Cross, who Wesleyan plays later this season.
The Cardinals will open their NESCAC season with a weekend doubleheader against Williams on Dec. 4 and Dec. 5. After three out-of-conference game to start the year, the Birds will look forward to beginning their NESCAC campaign with some Little Three action. Williams split with Hamilton this weekend, earning a 2-1 win on Friday, and losing 1-0 on Sunday.
Last season, the Cardinals took one win away from their two game series with the Ephs, earning one of their three NESCAC wins.
With nine different goal scorers on Saturday, Wesleyan can certainly look forward to a high-scoring season. A 9-0 away win will give the Red and Black the confidence they need to build on last year’s disappointing season.
The future is certainly bright for the Cardinals, who saw dominant performances from the first-years and sophomores on Saturday. With a combination of young talent and veteran leadership, this year could be Wesleyan’s year to win the NESCAC tournament, and earn a bid into the national playoffs.
“Definitely felt good to have such a strong offensive performance in our first game,” Ellery Sarosi ’17 said. “The fact that all nine goals came from different people, and that four of them were produced by freshmen, is really exciting to us. Maintaining point production throughout the lineup could play a large role in our success this season. That being said, we know the competition will only grow in skill as we proceed through the season. With games against both Sacred Heart and Holy Cross coming up this week, we have our work cut out for us, but we are definitely ready and excited for the challenge.”