Women’s Hockey Advances to NESCAC Semis on OT Winner
Issue   |   Tue, 03/01/2016 - 23:24
Amherst Athletics
Sabrina Dobbins '18 saved 34 shots in the overtime win against Bowdoin.

The Amherst women’s hockey team has advanced to the NESCAC semifinals this weekend, thanks to an overtime goal from first-year Katelyn Pantera on Saturday in the win over Bowdoin. The purple and white defeated the Polar Bears at Orr Rink in a thrilling NESCAC quarterfinal game on Saturday, Feb. 27.

Tensions were high before the match-up, since the now 21-1-3 Amherst team suffered its only loss of the regular season to Bowdoin. The home team managed to come out on top and push forward in their pursuit of a NESCAC championship. Goaltender Sabrina Dobbins ’18 registered 34 saves in net for Amherst, helping the purple and white to keep its season going.

Amherst came out hard in the first period, sending shot after shot at the Polar Bears’ net. Caitlyn Ryan ’17 put Amherst on the board about eight minutes into regulation. The home team took advantage of an opportunity on the power play when Alex Toupal ’18 sent a pass to Ryan at the offensive blue line, which Ryan fired through the crowd and into the net.
In the defense, Caroline Bomstein ’16 prevented a Bowdoin goal with under a minute to play when she poked the puck out from a threatening Polar Bear player. Amherst led at the close of the first stanza, 1-0.

Though Dobbins made some huge saves in the second period, the momentum swung toward Bowdoin. The visitors evened the score with less than five minutes to play in the period. A Bowdoin offender found the puck off a rebound, which she easily notched into the open net.

The third period was nerve wracking for both teams, with each aware of what was at stake. Both Amherst and Bowdoin failed to score, and the end of regulation left the score tied at 1-1.

Amherst found its rhythm again in overtime play. The home team pushed forward and maintained possession in its offensive end for the majority of overtime play.

Just over two minutes into the extra period, Kristen Molina ’18 forced a turnover that turned into a winning goal. Sarah Culhane ’17 ripped a shot on net that was deflected by the goalie, but Pantera was ready to end the game. The first-year deflected Culhane’s shot into the net, adding the winning goal 2:12 into the period. Immediately, the bench and the crowd erupted in celebration. Pantera describes her game-winner as “surreal” and credits the win to a “full-team effort that luckily ended with a connection and a bounce of the puck in [her] favor.”

Amherst will face Connecticut College on Saturday, March 5 in Middlebury, Vermont. The Panthers will host the championship weekend, placed first in the conference, but Amherst hopes to dethrone the top seed.