Women's Hockey Season Comes to a Close, Ends in NESCAC Semifinals
Issue   |   Tue, 03/10/2015 - 22:47
Claire Jia '15
Lynndy Smith '17 posted the team's lone goal in the semifinal game.

The Amherst women’s hockey team lost a tough game Saturday against Trinity in the NESCAC semifinals. The Jeffs fell to the Bantams 2-1 in a contest that lasted into overtime. With the win, Trinity moved on to face top-seeded Middlebury, whom they eventually beat in overtime to become NESCAC champions.

The Jeffs finished their season with a 10-3-3 record in the NESCAC and a 17-5-4 record overall. Amherst fought hard throughout the game putting up 34 shots on goal. Yuna Evans ’17 finished off the season strong in goal with 29 saves on the game. It was not enough, however, to finish off the talented Trinity team.

The Jeffs were prepared for the semifinal game against Trinity following a big win against Colby the week prior in the quarterfinals.

“We were excited to get the win in the quarterfinal matchup versus Colby and move on to the final four,” coach Jeffrey Matthews said. “As competitive as our league is now, there is no such thing as an easy game, especially in the playoffs.”

The team knew the game would be close and made sure to focus on executing throughout each period.

“Spirits were high, and we could not wait to travel up to Middlebury the following weekend to challenge Trinity in the semifinals,” said Lynndy Smith ’17, the Jeffs’ lone goal-scorer in the game. The first period was filled with opportunities for both teams, with each recording eight shots, but neither team was able to score.

The Jeffs went up on the board first with Smith’s unassisted goal.

“I felt mainly relived,” Smith said. “Not because I was the one that scored, but because we finally got a goal. The game seemed to drag on forever before either team scored, and I knew the team was getting anxious.”

Moving into the third period with a 1-0 lead, the Jeffs knew they had to rely on their defense to push through. At the 14:48 mark, the Bantams got lucky as Jessica Stowell’s shot was tipped by Caroline Howell to tie the score at 1.

Both defenses were able to stay strong throughout the third period to force a sudden-death overtime situation. The Jeffs were enthusiastic about an opportunity to take the game away.

“It was so exciting, but in overtime, you have to remain focused and composed,” Matthews said.

Smith said that the team came out energized during the last period.

“The scoreboard may not have reflected it, but we were confident that game was ours for the taking,” she said.

Amherst did have a slew of chances with four shots on goal. However, Trinity beat them to the punch, scoring midway through overtime to end the game 2-1.

“The season was an exciting one,” Matthews said. “We feel like it went by so fast, and have the urge to get it going again as soon as possible, which I think is a great sign."

The Jeffs finished among the top teams in the nation, narrowly missing an NCAA tournament bid.

“I would call our season a success,” Smith said. “We may not have made it as far as we wanted to go, but I believe our team should be very proud of all we have accomplished.”

Moving into the offseason, the Jeffs will lose five graduating seniors who were key to their success on the ice this season.

“I’m excited to spend the extra time we have now training and preparing for next season. I know many of us already have our eyes on next years NESCAC championship banner,” Smith said.