WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Despite a 5-0 loss to the Bowdoin Polar Bears, there was plenty to celebrate this Saturday afternoon on Senior Day at Lansing Chapman Rink. Senior captains Sam Weinstein and Aimee Dennett contributed to a hard-fought effort against a strong New England Small College Athletic Conference opponent.
"They competed hard all day and they played great. They did what they could and battled all afternoon," said coach Meghan Gillis on her two seniors.
Coming off last night's stalemate, it was Bowdoin who came out of the gate firing Saturday afternoon. In similar fashion to last night, the Polar Bears struck first and got on the board early. Just 2:32 into regulation, Chelsea MacNeil found a loose puck in the slot and shoveled it past Eph goaltender Chloe Billadeau to give Bowdoin a 1-0 edge. MacNeil was unassisted on the tally.
Unlike last night however, the visitors found the back of the net twice more in the first 20 minutes of play. Building off MacNeil's early goal, the Polar Bears quickly notched their second goal of the night just over two minutes later. Rachel Kennedy of Bowdoin sent a pass to teammate Stephanie Ludy in the high slot. Ludy sent the puck over Billadeau's left shoulder to extend Bowdoin's lead to 2-0.
The offensive tirade continued two and a half minutes later. Bowdoin registered a third goal on the afternoon at the 7:14 mark when Kenzie Novak took a low shot from the left wing that slid past Billadeau into the right part of the net. Teammates Kayte Holtz and Kim Tess-Wanat were credited with assists.
Two powerplay chances late in the frame gave Williams a pair of man-up opportunities. While the Eph offense managed to test Tara Connolly between the pipes, they could not cut Bowdoin's 3-0 lead before the intermission.
The Polar Bears outshot the Ephs 14-8 after the first.
The Ephs momentarily stunted Bowdoin's offensive groove and saw a few good looks of their own to open the middle frame. Unable to capitalize however, the second frame remained 3-0 until Bowdoin once again upped their lead. At the 10:41 mark, Holtz took a slap shot from the right wing that found its way past Billadeau. Her unassisted goal gave Bowdoin a 4-0 lead.
Keeping the top-ranked NESCAC team at bay for the remainder of the period, the Ephs headed into the locker room down four, but looking to begin a comeback effort in the final 20 minutes of play.
The Polar Bears refused to budge however, and remained relentless on their offensive end, tacking on a final goal just 28 seconds into the final frame. Colleen Finnerty set up Kennedy, who sent the puck home. Her goal would finalize the score at 5-0.
Despite the deficit, the Ephs battled hard to the buzzer. The penalty-kill unit worked hard in the final minutes of the game to kill a 5-on-3 chance for Bowdoin.
Connolly finished the afternoon with 19 stops, while Billadeau turned away 29 shots.
Looking ahead, Williams will face NESCAC foe Amherst College next weekend in back-to-back games Friday night and Saturday afternoon.