In one of its best offensive showings of the year, the women’s hockey team came away with one point on Senior Day, after a 3-3 tie with Trinity on Saturday. The draw came after the Cardinals lost to the Bantams, 3-1, in Hartford on Friday. Barring some serious shakeups in NESCAC competition this coming weekend, the results all but assure the Cards are out of NESCAC playoff contention.
The teams opened their weekend series on Friday night at Trinity. The Bantams struck first just over halfway into the first period when first-year Allison Slowe fed sophomore Caroline Howell for her second goal in as many games. The rest of the first period was scoreless, and both teams came into the second with ferocity.
Despite 12 shots in the second period, the Bantams could not extend their lead, due to the phenomenal play of Laura Corcoran ’16 between the pipes. Wesleyan finally found some offensive rhythm three minutes into the third period, beginning with Captain Laura Mead ’16, who nearly knotted the game at one with a quick wrist shot on the Trinity goal. Bantams’ goaltender Sydney Belinskas was assessed a minor penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct in the ensuing scrum, giving the Cardinals a two minute one-skater advantage.
Despite a well-run power play by the Red and Black, Trinity managed to extend its lead to two when sophomore Delaney Harrop intercepted a pass and sent Senior Alternate Captain Emma Tani in all alone on Corcoran. Tani made the most of her senior night opportunity when she deked to Corcoran’s glove side and roofed a backhand shot to give her squad the two goal cushion with 16:05 left to play.
Penalties again hurt the Redbirds, and Trinity sophomore Hannah Oganeku capitalized on a delay-of-game penalty assessed against Wes at 11:13. Wesleyan did manage to get on the board with just under five minutes to play, when Bridget Sherman ’19 scored on a breakaway. However, the team could not be further mobilized and ultimately lost, 3-1. Corcoran was fantastic in net, making 30 saves to Belinskas’ 22.
The Cardinals looked like a new team when they came out for Senior Day on Saturday afternoon at Spurrier-Snyder Arena. After a scoreless first period, the Cardinals took the lead on a spectacular goal by defender Madzie Carroll ’17. Picking up the puck in the neutral zone, Carroll skated down the left side and into the Bantams’ zone alongside two other Cardinals. Reaching the slot just inside the left faceoff dot, Carroll looked off the Trinity defender who guarded against the pass. With an open shot, Carroll rifled a shot high on the glove side, which rocketed past Belinskas to put the Cardinals up 1-0.
Just over four minutes later, the Red and Black extended the lead, when Jess Brennan ’17 fed Jenny Robinson ’16 from behind the net, who stuffed it home to give Wes the 2-0 edge. Trinity responded with just under five minutes to go, but it seemed that the Cardinals were not to be stopped. Up 2-1, Co-Captains Mead and Ellery Sarosi ’17 combined for a tip-in goal to bring the Birds’ advantage back to two.
The third period was all Trinity though, with goals at 14:09 and 16:12. Defensive breakdowns and scrambles in front of the goal proved to be the downfall of Wesleyan, who could have desperately used an outright win in their quest to make the NESCAC postseason.
Overtime proved exciting, and Alex Horton ’18 almost won it twice for the Cards. However, she missed one shot wide to the right, and was robbed by the quick glove of Belinskas on the other. The tie sees Wesleyan sitting at 1-12-2 in the NESCAC, and 4-15-2 overall.
Next weekend, the Birds head to Amherst to face the top team in the NESCAC. Sitting three points behind Colby in the chase for the last playoff spot, Wes will need two wins this weekend to qualify. Colby finished up its NESCAC schedule last weekend with back to back losses to Middlebury, so Wesleyan’s fate is in its own hands.
Carroll, who opened the scoring against Trinity last Saturday, spoke about last weekend’s games, and the upcoming weekend doubleheader against Little Three rival Amherst.
“This weekend was a really fun one, and it was exciting that our team put some pucks in the net,” Carroll said. “While we were hoping for a win, we’re glad that we came away from the weekend with a point. We have a huge weekend coming up against Amherst. Amherst is a very good team. If we continue to focus on our game and play the way that we have been playing then hopefully we will come away with the necessary points to make post-season play.”
Wesleyan faces off against Amherst this Friday at 7 p.m. at Spurrier-Snyder Arena.