Cards Get Shutout Goaltending by Rachel Stemerman '09 and Game-Winner from Conner Brannen '10
Making 39 saves to record her third career shutout, Rachel Stemerman '09 (#1, main photo) kept powerhouse Utica, which came in averaging more than six goals a game, off the board for 60 minutes. It took the Cardinals just over 55 minutes to find their scoring range but the one goal by Conner Brannen '10 (#7, photo insert lower left) at 15:16 of the third period proved to be enough in the 1-0 Wesleyan victory during the team's home opener Sat., Dec. 1. The triumph was the first in the head coaching career of new team mentor Jodi McKenna. Brannen, who picked up her first goal this season, did some fine work in setting herself up after taking a pass on the right side of the offensive zone from Leah Coe '11. She skated deep into the Utica zone, then cut up from behind the net on the right side and found some room to launch a game-winning shot. Utica pulled its keeper for the final two minutes of the game with Wesleyan skating short-handed a majority of the span, but the Cards held on for their first win over the Pioneers in five all-time meetings. When the teams collided for a sixth time Sun., Dec. 2 to conclude the two-game series, Utica got a measure of revenge with a 2-1 win. Stemerman made a spectacular 50 saves as the Pioneers generated a 52-21 shot differential. For her 89-save weekend and. 978 save percentage, Stemerman was named NESCAC Player of the Week. It was the third time in her career she has been named NESCAC POW. Wesleyan drew first blood on Mallory Cruz' '11 wrap-around goal 5:39 into the game. Utica tied it up five minutes later and eventually got a second shot past Stemerman four minutes into the final stanza. Wesleyan pulled its goalie for an extra skater over the final 1:31 but couldn't get the equalizer. Wesleyan closed out its first-semester action at Holy Cross Wed., Dec. 5, falling by a 3-2 count. Jess Fischer '08 and Adrienne Shea '08 both scored their first goals of the season. Wesleyan again pulled Stemerman, who had 25 saves in the game, for the final 1:34 looking for a tying goal but came away empty. The team will have five weeks off from games before resuming action at home against Salve Regina Tues., Jan. 8.