WATERVILLE — After breezing through the first third of the season, the season is in full grind mode for the Colby College women’s hockey team.

Ellie Fellows scored her second goal of the night early in the third period on Friday, helping visiting Trinity College earn a 2-2 with Colby in a New England Small College Athletic Conference game at Alfond Rink. After starting the season unbeaten in their first six league games, the Mules are now 0-2-1 in their last three, including two losses last weekend at nationally-ranked No. 2 Middlebury.

Colby (10-4-3 overall) twice had the lead over the Bantams before surrendering it each time.

“I feel like we started to go off script a little bit,” Colby coach Holley Tyng said. “We tried to do some things that it’s just too much at times. When we get scored on, we’re not that tough in terms of our ability to bounce back — it’s a mental toughness kind of thing. We’re still a little bit fragile times, given where we’ve come from as a program. We’re not quite that winning tradition yet.

“We’ve got to believe in ourselves.”

Colby’s Cassidy Holzer celebrates a first period goal against Trinity on Friday in Waterville. Morning Sentinel photo by Michael G. Seamans

Senior Cassidy Holzer and sophomore Lexi Cafiero each scored for the Mules. Junior goalie Cierra San Roman made 23 saves in the tie, while Trinity freshman Stephanie Garvis countered with 35 stops at the other end of the rink in her first start since Jan. 5.

After going 7-0-1 to begin the season with an eight-game unbeaten streak which included winning the first six of the campaign, Colby is now just 3-4-2 in its last seven with only one win over its last five.

Trinity (0-7-2) is still looking for its first NESCAC win of the season, despite a wins over Bowdoin in a non-league game on Jan. 2. The Mules and Bantams finish off the weekend series Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. at Alfond Rink.

“We’ve been playing a pretty good brand, it’s just a couple of bad breaks here and there,” said Trinity coach Keith Maurice. “We didn’t really learn how to respond. I’m hoping this is a good indication that we’re taking a step in the right direction. I’m hoping (Saturday) is a different story.”

Each team had chances to find a game-winner in regulation, but with both power plays combining to go 0 for 11 with the man advantage, goals were hard to come by.

Trinity (5-8-4 overall) produced a lunchpail goal in the second period, one that was a just reward for the Bantams’ efforts to begin the frame.

After being outplayed for much of the first period, Trinity started applying pressure to the Colby zone and handcuffed the Mules’ ability to transition through the neutral zone.

When the Bantams finally got a puck through traffic to San Roman, the rebound squirted free to the left side of the goal with San Roman scrambling to recover. Fellows pounced on it and stuffed it home to make it 1-1 at the 8:39 mark.

“She’s been that constant kid for us. She elevated her game tonight,” Maurice said of Fellows. “She went hard to the net, and that’s something we teach our kids — if you’re going to the net, something’s going to happen. She was determined, and it was nice to see her step up for us.”

“Their goals set us back a little bit, and we got off our game,” Cafiero said. “They had a lot more fight than we did tonight. We know that, and I think (Saturday) we’ll come at them better than ever.”

Colby’s response to the turn in momentum was pitch perfect, with Tess Dupre and Cafiero teaming up to hand the Mules the lead for the second time.

Dupre won a face-off cleanly to Cafiero, who was camped at the top of the left circle. Cafiero’s bid deflected off a Bantam defenseman in the high slot and fooled Garvis at 12:23 for a 2-1 Colby lead through two periods.

Colby was first to break onto the scoreboard on the night, grabbing a 1-0 lead courtesy of Holzer late in the first period. It was Holzer’s first goal of the season.

“They’re hungry, and they’re a lot better than their record indicates,” Tyng said. “They out-emotioned us a little bit. They wanted it a little bit more. I told the girls, ‘They’re pushing us right now. We’ve got to push back.’ Our push back was moderate, it wasn’t aggressive.”

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