The women’s hockey team finished up its season this past weekend with losses on both Friday and Saturday to nationally fourth-ranked Amherst. The weekend proved disappointing for the Cardinals, who took 6-0 defeats in both contests. The final matchups of the schedule marked the end of the collegiate careers for five Wesleyan seniors, including co-captain Laura Mead ’16.
Amherst came into the weekend with an 11-1-2 conference record (18-1-3 overall), securely in one of the top two spots in the NESCAC. Pursuing home ice throughout the playoffs, Amherst came out ferociously on Friday night, scoring twice in the first period. Emma Griese opened the scoring for the Purple and White at 5:50, and was followed up by teammate Kristen Molina at 9:05. The two-goal advantage in the opening frame gave the Mass. side the momentum it needed to keep scoring in the second.
Eileen Harris lit the lamp midway through the second stanza, scoring at 10:57. Just over a minute later, Katelyn Pantera broke free from the Wesleyan defense, and added Amherst’s fourth of the contest. Erin Martin scored at 16:09 in the period to put her team up 5-0 on the hosts from Middletown.
Frustrated, the Cardinals took two penalties in the third period. The first, a holding call against Samantha Curran ’17 occurred at 5:40. Mead was called for cross-checking at 10:34. Despite having struggled on the penalty kill all season, the Red and Black did a great job of containing the Amherst power play. Upon returning to six-on-six however, Alex Toupal capitalized for the away team at 14:02, and rounded out the scoring at 6-0. Corinne Rivard ’16 made 31 saves for the Cardinals on the night.
First-seeded Middlebury blanked Williams 2-0 on Friday, leaving Amherst with no choice but to come out at full intensity again on Saturday, in hopes of a win, which, combined with a Middlebury loss, would secure Amherst the top slot in NESCAC post-season play.
Amherst commenced the scoring at 10:04 in the first period, on a power play occurring as a result of a Maddie Nash ’18 hooking infraction at 8:47. Under five minutes later, proving troublesome for the Redbirds, Toupal helped to double Amherst’s lead, assisting a goal by Martin at 14:38. Continuing her point streak, Toupal scored unassisted at 19:02 to bring Amherst into the first intermission up 3-0.
Despite giving up three goals in the first, the Wesleyan defense was strong in the second, and did not allow Amherst’s power play unit to score on two penalty kills. However, Amherst’s Sara Culhan capitalized at full strength midway through the period to give her squad the 4-0 advantage.
The Amherst power play unit was back in form in the third period, following a Jenny Robinson ’16 tripping call. Amherst’s Jocelyn Hunyadi scored her first of the period after the Amherst power play worked the puck around the ice in its offensive zone. Just under eight minutes later, Hunyadi capitalized on another penalty, this time assessed against Rachel Aronow ’17 for hooking. Despite two more penalties, one for each side, the score remained at 6-0. Rivard made 27 saves for the Cardinals.
Despite picking up four points last weekend, Amherst finishes its season at 13-1-2 in the NESCAC, slotting them as the second seed in the postseason. Middlebury earned the top seed with convincing 2-0 and 7-0 wins over Williams on Friday and Saturday.
Wesleyan finishes the 2015-16 campaign with a NESCAC record of 1-13-2, and an overall record of 4-17-2. Though a disappointing season, Wes had some bright moments this season. Overall, the team did well when it found its offensive rhythm, and kept penalties to a minimum.
The Cardinals will miss seniors Rivard, Mead, Robinson, Laura Corcoran, and Lottie Barton. Rivard and Corcoran split time this season, and finished with career save numbers of .922 and .916, respectively. Defender Barton closes her career at Wesleyan with 15 points, and will be a hard player to replace. Robinson had a breakout season in her last, collecting eight of her ten career points in the 2015-16 schedule. Mead amassed an impressive 33 points during her tenure with the Cardinals. The program will sorely miss her leadership, physicality, and offensive clout.
The squad will be back at it in the next few weeks as they use the offseason to prepare for their 2016-17 season.