Cards Capture Must-Win Game at Colby, 3-2, to Give Team a Shot at NESCAC Playoffs up to Final Game
Taking on Colby Fri., Feb. 12 in Waterville, Me., Wesleyan desperately needed another win over the only NESCAC squad it had defeated this season to maintain a realistic chance of making the NESCAC tournament. The Cardinals responded by pushing out to a 3-0 lead after two period and hanging on for a 3-2 victory. Wesleyan must pick up one more point in the standings than Colby over the final three regular-season contests to secure the eighth and final spot in the NESCAC playoffs.
Jaime Bonner '12 and Julia Mulhern '12 spotted Wesleyan a 2-0 lead in the opening stanza as Bonner scored her first career goal in a Wesleyan uniform since transferring from Manhattanville at 8:23 and Mulhern added her second of the year with Julia Heffelfinger '10 setting up the power-play marker.
When Sena Ito '11 (#12, main photo) put home her third of the campaign at 7:36 of the second period to give Wesleyan a comfortable 3-0 cushion, it proved to be the margin of victory as the Mules netted a pair in the third period, the first in the opening minute and the second with 13 minutes remaining, to make it a 3-2 contest. Goalie Nicole Bonneau '13 (#30, photo insert upper right, 23 saves) and the Cardinal defense held firm to preserved the lead.
The Cardinals moved on to Bowdoin Sat., Feb. 13 to complete their Maine weekend. There Bowdoin used a 50-11 shot margin to roll to its second shutout win over Wesleyan this season with an 8-0 decision. Bonneau picked up 42 saves during a busy afternoon.
With Colby losing to Trinity, Wesleyan's playoff hopes hopes lie in the final two games, both at home against Hamilton Fri, Feb. 19 and Conn. College Sat., Feb. 20. Wesleyan must pick up at least a point during the two games to at least catch Colby, which finishes on the road at Williams and Middlebury. Both these teams shut Colby out convincingly in Waterville the first time they met this season. Wesleyan is hoping for much the same over the final weekend. Should Wesleyan and Colby tie in terms of team points, Wesleyan has the tie-breaker with its two head-to-head wins over the Mules.
On the first night of the final weekend, Wesleyan gave Hamilton a fight but fell 2-0 despite 39 saves from Ashleigh Corvi '13 in her first game back after suffering an injury. Colby fell to Williams, 3-0, leaving the Cardinals' playoff chance to the final day of the regular season.
Wesleyan's playoff chance passed by despite a loss by Colby at Middlebury as Conn. College scored three times in the first period and never let up behind a 42-16 shot advantage, going on for a 7-0 triumph. That left Wesleyan with a 2-14 NESCAC mark and a 4-18-1 overall record as the Cardinals did not make the NESCAC playoffs. Corvi added another 35 saves to her seasonal total, giving her 720 stops in 18 games, an average of 40 a contest.
(photos by SteveMcLaughlinPhotography.com)