Women's Hockey Glides to No.2 NESCAC, 12-3 Overall
Issue   |   Wed, 01/25/2012 - 01:31

Reilly Horan ’13
Staff Writer

The Lord Jeffs wrapped up an impressive winter break on Thursday, Jan. 19, after facing some of their toughest opponents to date and flaunting their scoring depth once again. In their last three weeks of play, Amherst went 6-1. Last night, they upset current first-place team and defending national champions Norwich Univ., earning them an overall record of 13-3 (7-1 NESCAC).

Before the break for final exams, the Jeffs took it to Oswego on Dec. 10 at home, defeating them 6-0.Notably, sophomore goalie Kerri Stuart made 30 saves, and the team converted four of their nine power play opportunities.
The next day (Dec. 11), the Jeffs took on Rochester Institute of Technology and dropped a close 1-0 game. While Amherst hammered 32 shots on goal (to RIT’s 20) and earned eight power plays, they couldn’t come up with a goal against RIT’s Laura Chamberlain ’14.

In the first period, junior Ariane Yokoyama fed senior Ali Hills, who snuck the puck past Amherst senior goalie Sinead Murphy to register the game’s only goal. Both goalies had impressive showings (Murphy with 19 saves and Chamberlain with 32) that included several huge saves that kept their teams close through the game.

“We gained confidence from the RIT game,” senior tri-captain Steph Clegg reflected. “It was a very even game,” junior tri-captain Geneva Lloyd added. “It was a good feeling to know we could compete with the best.”

After Christmas break, Amherst traveled to Henniker, N.H. on Jan. 3 to play New England College, dealing them a 7-2 loss. Standout players included first year Emily Flom and senior Clegg, who both contributed a pair of goals. Kate Beemer ’15 had an assist on the day and Melissa Martin ’15, Fisher, Lloyd, Salerno and Swiontkowski all had two assists each.

The Jeffs returned home that weekend to sweep Colby in a pair of NESCAC matchups. In the Jan. 6 game, Fisher, Courtney Baranek ’14, Vitale and Babineau netted Amherst’s four goals. Lloyd, Tori Salmon ’15, Barrett McBride ’14 and Martin all had assists, with Babineau (that week’s NESCAC Player of the Week) and Fisher adding two apiece. Murphy served Amherst between the pipes with 15 saves and her second shutout of the season.

In the second meeting, Amherst came out on top with a 3-1 win. Colby struck first, but Swiontkowski answered five minutes later, receiving a pass from Lloyd and burying her team’s first into the back of the net.

McBride contributed the eventual game-winner off the assist of Baranek and Martin in the second period. Swiontkowski finished the game by taking advantage of an open net and notching her second and the team’s third and final goal of the game. Stuart had 13 saves on the day.

Amherst then embarked on the toughest part of their schedule, a four-game stretch against Middlebury (2), Wisconsin-River Falls and St. Thomas.

“It was a long stretch of four games in seven days,” Lloyd commented. “Three good teams, four tough games. We relied on a variety of players who really stepped up.”

On Jan. 13 and 14, Amherst hosted Middlebury and split the weekend, taking a game apiece. On day one, Amherst came up big with a huge 3-2 win against Midd., dealing them their first loss of the season.

Doyen (helped by Lloyd) and Swiontkowski (helped by Fisher) each scored for the Jeffs, and Lloyd (assisted by Salerno and Swiontkowski) delivered the game winner. Murphy held down the fort in net with 16 saves.

In game two (Jan. 14), Amherst fell on the other side of a 3-2 score, their first NESCAC loss. Lloyd led Amherst’s offensive attack with both goals (one assisted by Salerno), but it wasn’t enough to take down Midd., whose Molly Downey, Maddie Melberg and Jennifer Krakower each scored. Murphy stopped 19 and allowed three in the game.

That Wednesday (Jan. 18), Amherst traveled westward for a two-day road trip to top two very competitive teams, Wisconsin-River Falls (UWRF) and St. Thomas.

In an overtime thriller, Amherst bested eighth-ranked Wisconsin-River Falls 2-1 in their first game out west.

UWRF notched their first and only goal with a minute and a half left in the first period; Katie Batters redirected Murphy’s original save into the net to make the score 1-0.

Doyen, assisted by McInnis, tied things up in the second period by sending a puck through the wickets of Falcon goalie Melissa Deardorff.

The teams were deadlocked before Salmon came up big in overtime play to end the game. Taking advantage of a big 5-3 power play, she netted the game-winner.

“We have two power play units, and both stepped up,” Clegg explained. “That overtime goal at UWRF was huge.”
Amherst delivered another 2-1 victory the next day, this time over St. Thomas. While the Tommies’ Meghan Parker broke a scoreless game five minutes into the second period, the Jeffs would ultimately return home the winners.

Salmon stayed hot, tying the game minutes later in her second clutch goal in two days. She was assisted by Babineau and Opperman.

It was Vitale’s turn to take it home for the Jeffs, scoring the game-winner with about ten minutes remaining in the third period, fed by McBride. Stuart, in net, improved to 6-1 on the year with 21 saves in the game.

Lloyd highlighted the benefits of the road trip: “Every practice of the season, we are catering to the style of play of the team we’re about to play next. In Minnesota, while we had an idea of their style, it was cool to be able to play our game, not caters to their’s. Also, it was great for the girls from Minnesota to see their families in the stands.”

Last night, the Jeffs delivered a huge win against Norwich, shutting out the No. 1 Cadets, 2-0. Coming up big for Amherst were Swiontkowski, who broke a scoreless game minutes into the second period, and Salmon, who solidified the win with about 15 minutes left in regulation.

Murphy shut down the Norwich offense, contributing 30 saves and earning her third shutout of the season.
“We’re in a long stretch of really important games,” Clegg concluded, “We’re focusing on staying loose and staying focused.”

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