After a promising start to the 2015-2016 season, the women’s hockey team dropped its last two matchups, falling to 1-2-0 on the season. With losses to the Pioneers of Sacred Heart University and The College of the Holy Cross, the Cardinals finished up the initial portion of their out-of-conference schedule on a sour note.
The Pioneers traveled to Middletown last Tuesday night seeking their first win of the season. The game was close from the start, with Wesleyan outshooting SHU 38-36. But the Pioneer goaltender, Nicole Magee, proved to be a bane to the Birds’ offense, turning aside 37 shots. Corinne Rivard ’16 was also stellar for Wesleyan, making 34 saves in the losing effort.
Sacred Heart opened the scoring with a short-handed goal 6:14 into the first period. Otherwise, the first period was all Red and Black, as the puck spent the majority of the time in the Pioneers’ defensive zone. Magee was especially fantastic in the first however, stonewalling the Birds and turning aside 16 shots. Defensively, Wes played a great first period, stopping three SHU power-plays.
The second period was all defense, with both goaltenders turning away good opportunities from their opponents. Sacred Heart came into the third period with a new attitude, however, and scored a power-play goal at 8:06. With just over five minutes remaining in the contest, captain Laura Mead ’16 finally put one past the SHU goalie, on a spectacular effort assisted by co-captain Ellery Sarosi ’17 and Cici Frattasio ’18. Though the Cardinals furiously battled for the remainder of the period, they were unable to put one home, allowing Sacred Heart the 2-1 victory, their first win of the season.
Though the game had some promising moments, the Birds took five penalties to the Pioneers’ two. While they played great short-handed defense, the penalties kept Wes from establishing an offensive rhythm and ultimately contributed to the loss.
The squad returned to the ice on Sunday afternoon, with a home matchup against Holy Cross at Spurrier-Snyder Arena. The powerful Crusaders entered the matchup at 7-2, having played nine games to Wesleyan’s two. Laura Corcoran ’16 got the nod from head coach Jodi McKenna, and started the game between the pipes.
Holy Cross opened the scoring when Izzy Bagi put one past Corcoran at 14:55. Just over a minute later, the Crusaders added to the lead when Julie Matthias collected a pass from Erin Hall, and put another in the back of the net, at 15:59. As the period was set to expire, Holy Cross expanded its lead with a goal by Mackenzie Boardman, assisted by Bagi and Hall.
The Crusaders kept the momentum rolling the second period, with Taylor McGee scoring just six minutes into play on a Kara Violette assist. Down but not out, Wesleyan’s offense got going in the second. Jenny Robinson ’16 put the Birds on the board at 10:54 with assists by Jess Brennan ’17 and Gina Mangiafridda ’19. The Cardinals cut the lead in half with just under two minutes to play in the period on Robinson’s second goal of the night, with assists from Mead and Sarah Gross ’19.
Bagi continued to haunt the Red and Black as the third period opened, scoring the Crusaders fifth goal with just under four minutes into play. Just four minutes later, Matthias scored again for Holy Cross, earning her second point of the night and extending the Crusader’s lead to 6-2. The Cardinals struck back in rapid fashion only a minute later, when Maddie Nash ’18, assisted by Rachel Aronow ’17, put one past the Holy Cross goaltender to cut the lead in half yet again. The away team responded just under three minutes later, on an Elizabeth Scala goal. The 7-3 lead proved to be too much for Wesleyan, even as Sarosi made the score 7-4 with three minutes to play on Aronow’s second assist of the night.
Though Wesleyan put up an impressive four goals, the team was disappointing defensively, giving up three goals while on the power-play. However, the squad will put that behind them and focus on the positives, as they head into a home doubleheader against Little Three rival Williams this weekend to open its NESCAC campaign. Sarosi spoke to The Argus about the disappointing losses and the team’s takeaways.
“The last two games obviously did not go how we wanted them to, but that being said, they serve as motivation,” Sarosi said. “We know what we have to do to improve. However, that being said, especially in the Holy Cross game, we played some very solid hockey. Looking at the good aspects of those games, I’m very excited about the potential this team has. We just have to string together a whole game of those good plays, and if we do that, we can beat anyone. With the beginning of NESCAC play this weekend, and with the Little Three on the line, our focus is on playing our best hockey.”
The puck drops tonight at 7:00 p.m. at Spurrier-Snyder Rink.