Defeating Williams on the road for the first time since 1998, Wesleyan got a hat trick from Kelsey Muller '13 (#15, main photo) and 32 saves from keeper Ashleigh Corvi '13 (#35, photo insert upper left), including 13 in the final stanza, as the Cardinals opened the year with a 5-3 NESCAC win over Williams Fri., Nov. 18.
Wesleyan got off to a hot start, capitalizing on its first shot. The Cardinals controlled the puck off the opening faceoff, sending play deep into the Ephs’ zone. From the low point, M.J. Cardin '12 sent a pass to the left post, which Jenna Vanderlinden '14 was able to tip past the Eph netminder to give Wesleyan a 1-0 advantage 18 seconds into the game.
The Cardinals again found the back of the net during the opening frame, this time with 8:33 remaining in the period. At the right point, Jordan Schildhaus '15 sent the puck to Becca Koppel '13. Koppel then rocketed a shot on cage, which was then deflected to the top right corner by Kelsey Muller '13 for the first of her three goals on the evening.
Williams netted the next two markers, one in the first period and the second 5:20 into the middle frame, to knot the score.
Both teams kept up the intensity as the period went on, featuring several nice saves from goalies on both ends of the ice. Corvi denied several Eph attempts, while the Eph netminder made two point-blank saves at the end of the period to maintain the score at 2-2, those coming off the stick of Jill Reynolds '12 and Schildhaus .
Wesleyan struck again to kick off the scoring in the third, although Williams was not far behind. Caitlin Bray '15 sent a cross-ice pass to Muller, who carried the puck down the right wing into the Ephs’ offensive zone, then sent a high shot into the net with 15:21 remaining.
Williams struck back just over a minute later, but the Cardinals were able to again regain the lead, this time for good, with 9:40 to play. A Williams penalty gave Wesleyan a man-up opportunity and Schildhaus carried the puck on the low left side, finding the open space to put the Cardinals up, 4-3.
Corvi stopped 13 of 14 Eph shots in the third period. The Ephs stepped up the pressure in the final minute and a half, forcing Corvi to make several saves.
However, the Cardinals were able to clear the puck out of their defensive zone and set up Muller for her third goal of the game with just two seconds remaining, an empty-netter for the 5-3 final.
In the rematch Sat., Nov. 18 in Williamstown, Wesleyan and Williams each tallied three power-play goals, but the Ephs scored two of theirs in the third period to take a 5-4 victory. Goals by Schildhaus, Reynolds and Laura Wasnick '15 over the opening two periods countered three Eph goals as the teams entered the final stanza locked up at 3-3. Julia Mulhern '12 put the Cardinals ahead just 1:29 into the third period, but the Ephs knotted the score at 4-4 with a man-advantage goal at 6:12 and put home the winner at 12:35, also on the power play. The Cardinals had another power-play chance a minute later, then enjoyed a two-man edge for a full minute thereafter, but could not come up with the equalizer. Corvi, who finished with 39 saves, was pulled in favor of an extra skater for the final 1:19, but it only evened the skating forces as the Cardinals were short-handed for the final 1:41. Wesleyan was outshot, 44-31, in the contest.
Up next for the squad is a non-conference game vs. Holy Cross Sun., Nov. 27, to inaugurate the home schedule.
(Note - portions of this story excerpted from a Williams College press release)