Women's Hockey Has Best 9-Game Stretch in 10 Years Following 3-0 NESCAC Win at Conn, but Comes up Short in Rematch and Falls To Nichols, 2-1
Thoroughly dominating the second period with a 14-1 shot differential, the Cardinals got a pair of goals just 1:39 apart from Laura Mead '16 (#7, photo insert upper right) and Ellery Sarosi '17 (#22, photo insert lower right), each with their second goal of the year. Wesleyan added an empty-net goal from Sydney Morgan '14 with 1:10 to play and goalie Laura Corcoran '16 (#30, main photo) did the rest with 15 saves for her second shutout of the season in a 3-0 NESCAC win at Conn. College Fri., Jan. 24. The teams concluded their two-game series Sat., Jan. 25, also in New London, and Conn prevailed in the rematch, 3-1.
Mead took a feed up the left side from Jess Brennan '17 and skated into the zone, firing a shot from the left circle that just slipped through the pads of the Camel netminder at 7:50 of the middle stanza. Sarosi then took a pass from Jordan Schildhaus '15 and turned it into a goal at 9:29 for a 2-0 cushion. Shots were a bit more even in the third perod, favoring the Cardinals, 10-7, but there was no further scoring until Conn had pulled its keeper for a sixth skater, and hard work by Morgan in the Conn zone finally produced the open-net tally, the first goal of her career in 83 games played. Wesleyan had been outshot, 7-1, in the opening frame before turning the tide.
Before Saturday's tilt Wesleyan had a 4-3-2 record in its previous nine starts, the first time since the 2003-04 campaign that the Cardinals had enjoyed a nine-game stretch with a winning mark. That year, Wesleyan fashioned a 5-4 segment during its 9-15-1 season. Over the recent nine games, Wesleyan had not suffered back-to back losses, the first such occurence since the closing nine games of the 2002-03 season. Also of note, Wesleyan concluded its opening five NESCAC weekends without being swept, having posted a win over both Williams and Conn, along with ties vs. Amherst, Middlebury and Bowdoin. Never in the history of double-round-robin NESCAC play, which began during the 2001-02 campaign, have the Cardinals moved through their opening five conference weekends without being swept at least once.
The win at Conn ended a nine-game losing skid vs. the Camels and was the Cardinals most decisive win over Conn in 12 years, equaling a 5-2 victory on Feb. 16, 2002.
But in the rematch, Conn got the lead 8:45 into the first stanza, then tacked on two goals in the opening five minutes of the second period, the last coming on the power play, to open up a 3-0 cushion. Wesleyan did get one back at 13:22 of the third period, as Sarosi upped her seasonal total to three goals with Schildhaus and Brennan getting the assists on the power-play marker. Corcoran collected 25 saves in the game as the Camels held a 28-23 edge in shot.
Corcoran entered the week leading the NESCAC in both goals-against average and save percentage. After the weekend, Corcoran's numbers remain an impressive .938 save percentage with a 1.77 goals-against average.
Wesleyan concluded its non-conference play Wed., Jan. 29, heading to Nichols. There Wesleyan got on the board first when Laura Wasnick '15 found the net at 11:03 of the thirtd period, folliwing over 50 minutes of scorless play. But the Bison countered with a 5-on-5 goal 1:44 later to even the count, then scored on a high schot from the right clircle at 16:43 for what proved to be the winning goal, snapping a five-game winless streak against Wesleyan. The Cardinals had been 4-0-1 in varsity play against Nichols. With Nichols a skater short due to a penalty for the final 1:49, Wesleyan pulled goalie Corinne Rivard '16 (26 saves) for an extra attcker and put relentless pressure on the Bison goalie, but a final clear out of the zone with 10 seconds left secured the win for Nichols.
The Cardinals return to action Fri., Feb. 7 with the first of back-to-back NESCAC home games against Hamilton. The contest Sat., Feb. 8 will be webcast.