Women’s Ice Hockey Enters Season Ranked Sixth Overall in Division III
Issue   |   Tue, 11/15/2016 - 21:29
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Miriam Eickhoff ‘19 is poised to play a forward and defender this season.

Tuesday, Nov. 1 marked the first official practice for Amherst women’s ice hockey’s 2016-2017 season. The purple and white are excited to get back on the ice and get started after an offseason of training and preparation. Last season, the women ended their 2015-2016 campaign with a tough loss to Plattsburgh State in the first round of the NCAA tournament, the team which would go on to win the championship. Nonetheless, they finished with an impressive 22-3-3 record (13-1-2 in the conference) and a NESCAC championship appearance.

Entering this season, the purple and white are ranked sixth on the Division III top 10, as voted on by D3hockey.com. Amherst has 19 returning players including forward Alex Toupal ’18 and defender Caitlyn Ryan ’17. Toupal had a breakout sophomore season last year, being named to the D3hockey.com All-American third team, a NEHWA All-Star and a first team All-NESCAC selection. Additionally she made a large contribution to the Amherst offense, scoring 23 goals (fifth in the nation) and 16 assists over the course of the season.

Ryan was a standout for the purple and white’s defensive game, earning First Team All-NESCAC, Second Team East All-America and Second Team All-USCHO honors. Ryan, along with Lynndy Smith ’17 will lead the team as this year’s captains.

Amherst women’s hockey graduated three seniors and important contributors last season, Erin Martin, Eileen Harris and Caroline Bomstein, but are excited about the five incoming first years, Ava Simoncelli, Eliza Laycook, Caroline Booraem, Anne Malloy and Sarah Melanson. The purple and white bring back goalies Sabrina Dobbins ’18 and Bailey Plaman ’18, who posted impressive save percentages of .938 and .946 respectively. On the forward line, look out for Toupal, Jocelyn Hunyadi ’19 and Katelyn Pantera ’19, the returners who finished last season with the most points. As an offense, Amherst averaged an impressive 4.08 goals per game. Protecting the net you will find Ryan, Smith, Camille Herzog ’17 and Laura Schmidlein ’19. The defense contributed to Amherst’s nationally ranked 8th place goals against average of 1.43.

On the whole, Amherst women’s ice hockey comes back with a strong squad ready to take on the season. Though they lost some key skaters at the end of last year, many talented players remain and they are looking to make it deep in the offseason. They open their season at home at Orr Rink on Friday, Nov. 18 against NESCAC rival Connecticut College.