PINE VALLEY, N.Y. — The Elmira College women’s ice hockey team scored four unanswered goals in the second and third periods en route to a 4-1 United Collegiate Hockey Conference (UCHC) victory over Nazareth College in the first game of the 2021 season.
The Soaring Eagles (1-0-0, 1-0-0 UCHC) picked up their first win in nearly a year, having last skated when they won the UCHC Tournament title in a 5-3 decision over Manhattanville College on March 8, 2020.
A tournament quarterfinalist in 2020, Nazareth (0-1-0, 0-1-0 UCHC) struck first on a goal from Makenna Wiljanen late in the opening period but was unable to maintain its momentum. Seven-and-a-half minutes into the second, reigning UCHC Tournament MVP Jess Adams ’21 leveled the score at 1-all with a top-shelf backhand that beat Golden Flyers goalie Adrianna Brehm on her glove side.
The eventual game-winning tally came from Jenny Heath ’22 with six seconds to play in the second stanza. Trailing the puck carrier down the right boards, Heath snagged a turnover just inside the blue line. She then passed the puck to herself off the boards, skated around one Golden Flyer defender, and once again found space over Brehm’s shoulders.
Early in the third, Elmira made Naz pay for another costly turnover in the neutral zone. A pass was sent from the end boards behind the EC goal towards center ice, but the intended Golden Flyer receiver mishandled it. The speedy Kelly Matthews ’23 raced in, stole the puck inside the faceoff circle, and deked out the goalie with a highlight-reel breakaway goal.
Elmira’s 4-0 run ended on a fourth-chance shot from Kelly Millins ’23 midway through the last period. The first shot of the possession, taken by Emma Edgington ’23, was initially saved, but Brehm wasn’t able to squeeze her glove tight enough to hold on. Adams flipped a second attempt towards the cage on the rebound, and after the puck circled back to the blue line, a Madi Morton ’24 slap shot was blocked away. Millins finally cashed in for her first marker of the season, as she slide a backhanded shot around Brehm’s leg pads and inside the left post.
In Their Own Words…
Head Coach Tim Crowley on Elmira winning its first game back to start the delayed 2021 season…
“It was great to get back playing. We appreciate the opportunity to play through the league and the College. And it’s always good to get a win against a good team.”
Coach Crowley when asked about the team’s performance in the last two periods in contrast to the first…
“Even in the first, I thought we played well. After our first goal, however, we settled in more and created momentum for ourselves.”
Coach Crowley on the nifty breakaway goal from Matthews that help seal the game in the third period…
“I thought she played great throughout the whole game, and especially that play on the goal.”
News and Notes
- Elmira improved to 1-0-0 in its season opener, while the Golden Flyers dropped to 0-1-0.
- Adams led all players with a game-high two points (1g-1a).
- Heath, Matthews, and Millins each scored once for the Soaring Eagles, while Morton and Bella Hanson ’21 each chipped in with one assist.
- Morton’s assist marked the first point of her collegiate career in her debut with the Purple and Gold.
- Elizabeth Hanson ’21 played all 60 minutes in goal and finished with 18 saves for EC.
- Neither team was successful on the power play, as both Elmira and Naz were 0-for-4 with an extra skater.
Conference play continues at Manhattanville in a rematch of the 2020 UCHC Championship on Friday, February 26. The Valiants will host Friday’s matchup inside the Playland Ice Casino in Rye, New York, at 2:00 p.m.
(Elmira Women’s Hockey Photo)