Amherst stymies women’s ice hockey, claims two wins

Women’s ice hockey (4-13-1, 3-10-1 in the NESCAC) played back-to-back games at Amherst this weekend, showing signs of improvement despite losing to the Jeffs twice. The team fell 10-1 on Friday and then 7-3 on Saturday against the defending Div. III national champions.

Despite a 7-3 decision in favor of Amherst on Saturday, the game was much more competitive than the score indicated. The Jeffs struck first on a wrist shot from Geneva Lloyd that rang off the post and into the net with 13:19 left to play in the first period.
Williams tied the score 1-1 only 31 seconds later with a smooth backhanded shot from forward Kristen Tubbs ’12. Amherst scored again with only one minute left to play in the first period, giving them a 2-1 lead going into intermission.

The Jeffs rode their momentum from the end of the first period into the second, and quick goals by Courtney Hanlon and Meagan Curry gave them a three-goal cushion at 4-1. The Ephs were not discouraged, however: With 7:51 left in the second period, their efforts were rewarded with a goal from Christina Bravi ’14 off an assist from co-captain Hannah Systrom ’12. The Ephs continued their onslaught throughout the period and cut the deficit to one when Nicolle Perry ’13 received a pass from Sarah Herr ’12 and put the puck in the back of the net at the 5:54 mark for a 4-3 tally.

The second period was one of the best all year for the Ephs, as the women showed how well the are capable of playing when all cylinders are firing. “We had a couple of great periods during the weekend in which we were disciplined and really worked as a team,” said co-captain Lauren Zurek ’11.

With the score 4-3 going into the final period, the Ephs looked to give the nationally-ranked Jeffs a challenge at their home rink. However, penalties proved costly to the women, who gave up two power play goals within two minutes to give Amherst a 6-3 lead. Amherst finished its offensive showcase with a seventh goal with just minutes remaining in the game to solidify a 7-3 win at home.
Overall, Head Coach Joey Lye was pleased with the team’s effort. “Had it not been for a few untimely penalties, this game could have gone our way,” she said. “They were able to capitalize on three power plays, two of which were five-on-three opportunities.”
Rachel Nguyen ’14 had a fantastic game in net with 40 saves in response to Caroline Hu’s 14 saves for the Jeffs.

On Friday the Ephs again came up short against the Jeffs by a lopsided score of 10-1. Williams started the game strong, taking a 1-0 lead off a goal from Bravi after only 40 seconds of play. Just four minutes later, Amherst answered with a goal from Stephanie Clegg, and Kaitlyn McInnis later tucked the puck past Nguyen to give Amherst a 2-1 lead at the conclusion of the first period.
The Ephs had trouble getting the puck into the Jeffs’ net against a strong Amherst defensive effort. Penalties hurt the women throughout the game, and some outstanding offensive play spurred Amherst to a 6-1 lead at the end of the second period.
Amherst notched two more goals within the first five minutes of the final period on their way to a 10-1 victory over the women. Despite Amherst’s 10 goals, Nguyen had 22 saves on the night.

Lye saw lots of positive things come out of the losses. “Despite the results, it was great to see the girls really pull together and pick each other up. The energy on the bench, especially during Saturday’s game, was the best it’s been all season,” Lye said.
Despite their struggles over the weekend, Wesleyan’s 5-1 loss to Colby over the weekend has ensured the women a spot in the NESCAC tournament. With their wins this weekend, the Jeffs have guaranteed at least the second seed in the tournament.
Williams went up against the women from UMass-Boston at home last night, but results came in too late to report. The women will round out their regular season with games against Bowdoin and Colby on the road this weekend: Williams will travel to Bowdoin for a 7 p.m. game on Friday before continuing on to play Colby at 3 p.m. Saturday.