Jessica Brennan '17 (#23, photo) had a hand in both Wesleyan goals as the Cardinals held off visiting St. Catherine (MN) for a 2-1 women's ice hockey victory Fri., Jan. 3. It was just the second meeting of the distant squads and first since Wesleyan made the trek to Minnesota for the initial meeting seven years ago. The teams completed their two-game series with a rematch Sat., Jan. 4 in Middletown. The Wildcats claimed a 1-0 win in the second outing.
Cara Jankowski '15 put home her second goal of the season with a power-play marker just 3:14 into the contest and 16 seconds into the extra-skater situation. Wesleyan won a faceoff in the Wildcats zone and an initial shot by Brennan from the top of the right circle was stopped by the starting Wildcat goalie. The puck was pushed to the left of the net where Laura Wasnick '15 got off a second shot from down deep which also was stopped by the netminder. The rebound went to Jankowski just above the net on the left and her sharp-angled shot found the twine for a 1-0 Wesleyan lead. The Cardinals then capitalized on their second power-play chance in the game as Jordan Schildhaus '15 sent a cross-ice pass to Brennan, who again took a shot from the right circle. Again it was stopped by the goalie but remained in front where Abigail Rutt '17 got to it and lofted in her second goal of the year for a 2-0 Wesleyan edge at 14:59 of the first period.
Wesleyan carried its 2-0 lead well into the third period before St. Catherine picked up a short-handed goal as a Wesleyan pass near the Wildcat blue line was deflected into center ice and collared for a clean breakaway by a Wildcat at the top of the Wesleyan zone. She did a great job moving the puck from left to right, setting up an easy low shot from just off the crease on the right past Wesleyan keeper Laura Corcoran '16 at 11:47 of the final period.
While Wesleyan held a substantial 28-7 margin in shots over the first two periods, St. Catherine came to life in the third stanza for an 11-10 edge over the final 20 minutes, despite having to kill off four of its eight penalties during the stretch. The Wildcats killed their last six penalties while getting a goal. Wesleyan killed off four penalties, including playing two-skaters short for 1:18 during the second period. St. Catherine also had a two-man short situation in the third for :46 with no damage.
In the rematch, St. Catherine used a different goalie in each period and all three kept Wesleyan off the board despite a 28-19 shot margin in Wesleyan's favor. At the other end, Corinne Rivard '16 turned aside 18 shots but was beaten once at 12:55 of the first period with a flip from in close on the right as Rivard was screened on the play and couldn't recover. It held up as the winner.
Wesleyan takes to the road Tues., Jan. 7 for its next outing, facing New England College in another non-conference battle.
Corcoran finished the game with 17 saves. St. Catherine used three goalies who collected 36 saves among them.