Williams women's hockey eliminated in NESCAC Tournament quarterfinals


WILLIAMSTOWN >> In overtime, you need only one chance.

Trinity capitalized on its one chance in the first overtime of its NESCAC women's hockey quarterfinal against Williams. Shannon Farrell went top shelf on a 2-on-1 break midway through OT to give the fifth-seeded Bantams a 2-1 win over Williams, eliminating the fourth-seeded Ephs from the tournament.

"I thought we had the pressure [in their end], and that was their one big chance in overtime, and they scored on it," said Williams head coach Meghan Gillis. "We had four or five and we didn't score."

It was the second consecutive year that Trinity ended Williams' season in the NESCAC Tournament quarterfinals. Last year, the Bantams beat the Ephs 1-0 in Hartford.

The Ephs, who split the regular-season series with Trinity, led when Natalie Bernstein scored less than two minutes into the first period. But despite outshooting Trinity 36-24, Williams never scored again. The Ephs were 0 for 4 on the power play.

"The four-five game, you always think it's going to be a really close game," said Gillis. "Obviously, that's what it was today."

Credit Trinity goalie Sydney Belinskas for that inability to score. The sophomore from Port Orange, Fla., made 35 saves, including 12 in the third period. None was bigger than one she made in overtime.

Williams' Annie Rush picked up the puck inside the red line, deked two Trinity defenders as she skated down the slot, but Belinskas stopped the shot of the freshman forward from Anchorage, Alaska. One minute later, Farrell scored.

The Trinity goal came off a broken play in the neutral zone. Hannah Oganeku and Farrell skated into the Eph offensive end, and Oganeku crossed the puck to Farrell and Farrell's shot beat Willliams goalie Christina Cleroux to the top left corner.

"Syd's been playing great for us. Even in the first period, she had a great save that kind of set the tone throughout the game, and she carried that throughout the game," said Trinity coach Keith Maurice. "Yeah, she was kind of the player of the game for us."

Late arriving fans missed Williams' goal. Michaela Levine threw the puck off the boards behind Belinskas. The puck bounced right out in front where Bernstein got a stick on it and the senior buried the shot into the net at 1:54 of the opening stanza.

It was the third good scoring opportunity Williams had in the first two minutes, as the Ephs jumped all over Trinity to start the game. Williams had a 13-4 shot advantage after one period, but only led 1-0.

That was too fine of a margin of error, because the Bantams got a power-play goal in the second period.

Williams' Alex Lovaas had taken a minor penalty for checking at 19:43 of the first period, so the Bantams opened the second with the man advantage. Cheeky Herr, whose sister Sarah played for Williams, sent the puck ahead to Emma Tani, whose shot from a tough angle found the upper left corner of the goal, tying the game at 1.

While the Ephs had the better of play after the goal, especially in the third period, they could not untie the game.

"Our goal every year is to be playing next weekend, so it's tough that we're not," said Gillis. "The returners will learn from this and build off it."

Contact Howard Herman at 413-496-6253.


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