Women's hockey beats Cardinals
Following a difficult January, the Colby women’s hockey team bounced back with a solid showing this week. The week started out with a 5-0 loss to Saint Anselm College, but the ensuing trip to Wesleyan University demonstrated its capacity to skate right alongside fellow New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) schools; the Mules split the weekend with Wesleyan, earning a 4-3 win on Saturday.
The doubleheader began with a 3-2 loss but demonstrated an improved capacity to fix the team’s main problem. According to captain Ally Kane ’13, the team is “focus[ing] on putting the puck in the back of the net.” Coach Venditti expressed this concern last week, and he must have been happy with the performance in that area against the Cardinals. After a scoreless first period, Annie Papadellis ’14 scored her fourth goal of the season to tie the game just a minute into the second period. Three minutes later, Carolyn Fuwa ’15 pounced on a blocked shot to give the Mules the lead. Despite sophomore Brianne Wheeler’s 16 saves, Wesleyan fought back to take a 3-2 win.
Colby needed to follow up on this strong offensive performance the next day in order to keep their playoff hopes alive. Wesleyan scored early, but both Caroline Chessare ’13 and Meredith Reynolds ’13 scored in the last four minutes of the second period to give Colby the lead going into the third. By scoring twice in the first six minutes of the third, Wesleyan seemed to be replaying the script from the night before. However, Colby forward Samantha Slotnick ’14 refused to let the Cardinals come from behind to nab a victory again. Slotnick scored two unassisted goals in a mere 20 seconds to give Colby the lead once more. The first was a missile following a faceoff, and the second was a shot from the right circle. The Colby defense was able to hold off the Cardinals for the last 10 minutes to hold on to the victory. Wheeler was superb again as she finished with 22 saves.
The victory allowed Colby to continue to vie for a playoff spot. In the current NESCAC standings, Wesleyan owns the eighth and final playoff spot. Had Wesleyan beaten Colby, they would have clinched the berth. However, the two teams now enter their last two games separated by only one win. Colby will host Hamilton College twice, while Wesleyan will play a home-and-home doubleheader with Trinity College. Winning one of the two games could be enough to land Colby in the playoffs. If they are able to obtain offensive production as they did this past week, they feel that “can beat any opponent in the country,” according to Coach Venditti.