Hartford, Conn. - Senior captain Jessica Stowell (Hadley, Mass.) sent a slapshot flying into the back of the net from just inside the blue-line with 48 seconds remaining to lift the Trinity College Bantams over the Williams College Ephs, 2-1, in a Saturday evening New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) women's hockey showdown in Hartford. Stowell's game-winning goal also comes as her first score of the year after the Bantams found themselves trailing, 1-0, entering the third period. With the win, Trinity improves to 6-10-2 overall and 5-5-1 in conference action while Williams falls to 9-9-2 on the year and 6-5-2 in league play.
Williams came out of the gates aggressive in the first period, owning a 9-1 shooting advantage after the first 20 minutes of action. Sophomore Claire Mancheski (Minnetonka, Minn.) nearly broke the 0-0 tie early as she sent a wrister towards goal, but the puck drilled the crossbar and bounced into the corner without incident. After a handful of saved shots by Trinity junior goalie Sydney Belinskas (Port Orange, Fla.), Eph senior Sara Lehman (Lexington, Mass.) finally snuck one in after she stole the puck in the Bantams' defensive zone and managed to beat Belinskas to netting with a wrist-shot. The Ephs almost made it a 2-0 game with under a minute to play in the period but Belinskas stood on her head to save three consecutive shots and limit Williams to the lone goal as the teams entered the first intermission.
After hooking penalty, called on Williams, Trinity found its first true scoring opportunity of the day when junior Kelcie Finn (Weymouth, Mass.) and classmate Hannah Oganeku (Castle Pines, Colo.) opened up a 2-on-1 near center ice. Finn dished a pass to Oganeku, flying towards the back-side post, but Oganeku was bothered enough by a Williams defender to prevent a clean shot and keep Trinity off the scoreboard for the time being. The Bantams outshot the Ephs, 15-9, in the frame but did not manage to find an equalizer as Williams clung to the 1-0 lead entering the final period of play.
Back-to-back power plays called on the Ephs at the end of the second period gave Trinity a prime scoring chance with a 5-on-3 advantage to open the third. Despite a barrage of slapshots from first-year Taylor Foy (Highlands Ranch, Colo.), Williams refused to break as they killed both penalties without harm. The resilient Trinity offense finally broke through at the 5:46 mark when Oganeku ripped a shot on goal that was saved by Eph netminder Marissa Anderson (East Falmouth, Mass.), but the rebound fell right at the feet of first-year Alex Sinson (Elm Grove, Wisc.) who whipped a wrist shot off of Anderson's shoulder pad and into the back of the net for her first career goal. Williams gained a skater advantage late in the period after a Bantam tripping penalty however Trinity's penalty kill did its job to preserve the tie.
The game reached the final minute mark with both teams still knotted in a 1-1 deadlock before great puck movement by the Bantams led to the game-winner. Junior Melissa Maffeo (Melrose, Mass.) controlled the puck in the corner of the Williams defensive zone and slipped a pass to classmate Delaney Harrop (Walpole, Mass.) who was set up near the point. Harrop then shuffled a pass along the inside of the blue-line to Stowell who sent a clapper high into the top shelf to send the Bantams home victorious.
Belinskas finished with 30 saves on the day as did Anderson for the Ephs. Trinity owned a slight, 32-31 shot advantage while both teams combined for just four penalties in an otherwise clean game.
Trinity returns to action on Tuesday when it hosts Amherst College at 7:30 p.m.