MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – The Wesleyan University women's ice hockey team proved it could compete with the best in the NESCAC on Saturday afternoon, as junior defensewoman Jackie Kilar scored twice and sophomore goalie Sam Smith boasted a season-high 41 saves during a thrilling 3-1 win over NESCAC-foe Hamilton at the Spurrier-Snyder Rink.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Hamilton (10-4-1, 7-1-0 NESCAC) came into the game undefeated in the NESCAC through seven games, and had only allowed 11 goals in 14 games overall. The Continentals went on the scoreboard first at the 10:52 mark of the first, as freshman defensewoman Madie Bologa found the back of the net from the left point.
- Kilar responded with her first goal of the 2017-18 season with 4:11 remaining in the first on a perfectly executed play, changing the energy level in the building immediately. Sophomore forward Alexis Banquer, who is always dangerous with the puck on her stick, sent a pass from the left wing in the attacking zone to Kilar, who was cutting to the net. Kilar then stayed patient – holding and dragging the puck through the slot – and then burying a shot into the top-right corner of the net, tying the game at 1-1.
- In the late moments of the second, senior captain Alex Horton and sophomore forward Colleen Castro embarked on a 2-on-1 together, and Horton rifled a shot from the right circle, which created a lively rebound. Castro stood on the left doorstep and slid the puck pass the goal line for her first collegiate goal, which also stood up as the game-winning marker. Junior forward Grace Keogh picked up an assist on the scoring playing.
- Hamilton emptied its net with 1:38 remaining in regulation, and Kilar, who has two goals and five assists on the year, allowed the crowd to erupt with an empty-net tally from just outside the blue line with 1:02 left, extending Wesleyan's lead to 3-1. The insurance goal was assisted by Horton and Keogh.
- The Cardinals have played well against upper-echelon competition this year, as they tied then-No. 8-ranked Connecticut College, 1-1, in New London, Conn., on Jan. 13.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- Smith (3-2-0) was the complete package in net from the opening whistle, as she was aggressive and active in the crease. She stopped all 17 shots she faced in the final 20 minutes, and recorded double-digit save totals in every period. Senior goalie Sam Walther (9-4-0) made 17 saves in net for the Continentals.
- The Cardinals received multi-point games from three players, featuring Kilar, Keogh and Horton.
- Wesleyan is only the second team all year to score three goals against Hamilton, and is the first NESCAC school to accomplish the feat.
- The Cardinals' penalty-killing group was tremendous as usual, killing off all three Hamilton power plays, including a pair of minor penalties in the third.
- The Continentals held a commanding 42-20 lead in the shots category, while also going 33-for-56 in the faceoff circle.
- Junior forward Jenna Jewell won 14-of-20 draws for the visitors, and freshman forward Missy Segall went 11-for-16 at the dot. Junior defensewoman Kendall Carr was an efficient 5-for-8 on faceoffs for the Cardinals.
- The Cardinals will look to stay in the win column on Friday with a 7 p.m. matchup at Bowdoin.