Women’s Ice Hockey Falls to Bowdoin 3-1 in NESCAC Semifinals
Issue   |   Tue, 03/05/2013 - 23:24

The Amherst women’s hockey team suffered a heartbreaking loss Saturday afternoon, falling to Bowdoin, 3-1, in the NESCAC Championship semifinals. The Jeffs finished with a 13-11-1 overall record, missing the title game for the first time since the 2005-06 season.

Bowdoin went on to defeat host Middlebury, 2-1, for their first NESCAC Championship since 2004.

Bowdoin jumped on the board early Saturday afternoon, taking a 1-0 lead six minutes into the first period.

A shot from Madeline Lane ’14 deflected off a defender and past Amherst goaltender Kerri Stuart ’14, giving the junior her third goal of the season.

Barrett McBride ’14 saw a great chance for the Jeffs on a breakaway late in the first, but Polar Bear goalie Kayla Lessard ’13 made a key save to preserve the shutout.

Amherst saw another chance with three minutes left in the first on an odd-man rush, but Lessard stopped a shot from first-year Erin Martin to keep the Polar Bears ahead. Despite a late power-play attempt from Megan Doyen ’13, the Jeffs entered the first intermission down, 1-0.

Neither team saw great scoring chances in the second period, with Amherst’s best look coming from Emily Flom ’15 midway through the frame. The Jeffs tried to capitalize on a Polar Bear error that sent a loose puck into the crease, but Lessard kept it out of danger as Flom charged the net.

Bowdoin had its best look with five minutes left in the period on a breakaway from first-year Rachel Kennedy, the Polar Bears’ top scorer and NESCAC Rookie of the Year, but Stuart managed to push the puck wide to keep the Jeffs within one.

Bowdoin generated a majority of the offense in the second period, outshooting Amherst 13-1.

Geneva Lloyd ’13 started an offensive charge for Amherst seven minutes into the third period on a 3-on-2, but Lessard stopped a low shot to keep the Jeffs off the board.

Going on the power-play midway through the frame, Amherst kept up momentum with looks from Kaitlyn McInnis ’13 and Doyen in point-blank range, but Lessard stood strong again to keep the score at 1-0.

Bowdoin went on a power play at the 14:49 mark, gaining a two-goal lead 53 seconds into the advantage. Senior Kenzie Novak sent one in from the right boards, finding the stick of classmate Stephanie Ludy, who sent the redirection past Stuart for her 14th goal of the season.

With 33 seconds remaining in regulation, Amherst drew within one after pulling Stuart for the extra skater. Ashley Salerno ’14 found Lloyd at the top of the zone, who ripped a shot into the back of the net for her 14th tally of the year.

The Jeffs pulled Stuart again after the goal to keep six skaters on the ice, but a turnover led to an empty-net goal by Kennedy to seal the Polar Bear victory with 10 seconds remaining.

Amherst held a 14-8 shot advantage in the final 20 minutes, but Bowdoin outshot the Jeffs overall by a slim 29-28 margin. Both teams went 1-for-4 on the power play, with Stuart making 26 saves in net for the Jeffs.

The contest marked the last in the careers of McInnis, Doyen and Lloyd, who led Amherst to a 76-25-8 record over their past four seasons.

The trio also helped the Jeffs to a NESCAC Championship and a national championship during their rookie season, in addition to a pair of NCAA Tournament berths and three trips to the NESCAC finals.

Last Thursday, Lloyd took home the league’s highest honor, earning her second consecutive NESCAC Player of the Year award.

In addition to earning top honors, Lloyd was appointed to the All-NESCAC First Team for the fourth consecutive year, making her the only player in NESCAC women’s history to earn four consecutive nods since the award began 11 years ago.

She is also the second player to ever win consecutive Player of the Year awards and the third to earn the honor multiple times. Over the course of 25 games this season, Lloyd led all league defenders in scoring and topped the Amherst offense with 28 points on 14 goals and 14 assists. The two-time All- American also became the seventh member of Amherst’s 100-point club earlier in the year on a two-goal, four-assist performance against Colby on Jan. 4.

She now sits at fifth all-time on the career scoring list with 115 points on 44 goals and 71 assists, all while playing as a defender.

Sophomore Tori Salmon joined Lloyd on the First Team after leading the NESCAC with 18 assists this year, finishing second on the team with 25 points and tying Lloyd with six multi-point performances this season.

Salerno earned second team honors for the second consecutive season after anchoring the Jeff defense alongside Lloyd. The junior co-captain has also reached double-digit points for the last three seasons, finishing up the year with three goals and eight assists.