NEW LONDON, Conn. – Freshman Melissa Alexander (Bellingham, Mass.) netted her first collegiate goal and classmate Carly Denora (Venora, N.J.) earned her first shutout between the pipes to help the Connecticut College women's ice hockey team win its home opener on Tuesday evening at Dayton Arena.
After a quiet first period which only saw the teams combine to attempt four shots on target, the Camels started to kick it into high gear during the second stanza. The team's best chance came at the midway point of the frame when sophomore Erin Dillon (Hazlet, N.J.) had the puck on the right side and slid a pass to a wide-open Kylie Wilkes (Howell, N.J.), but the junior's shot from point-blank range was stuffed by goalie Rylie Wills.
Connecticut College (2-0-1) eventually got the only goal it would need at the 12:15 mark of the third frame. Junior Ellie Branka (Medfield, Mass.) started the play from the boards behind the Camels' net when she passed the puck up to senior Jordan Cross (Saugus, Mass.), who was recently named the NESCAC Player of the Week, near the blue line. The forward then raced up the right side of the ice and fired in a shot that was redirected into the nylon at the last moment by Alexander. The Spartans never had any clean looks the rest of the way and could not convert with an extra skater in the waning seconds, keeping the Camels undefeated through three games during the young season.
Denora earned her first collegiate shutout by turning away nine shots for Connecticut College, which outshot its opponent by a 62-21 margin overall as well as 24-9 in attempts on target. Wills of Castleton (2-4-1) made 23 saves in the setback.
Connecticut College will next host Salve Regina next Tuesday evening at 7 p.m.