Women’s Hockey Suffers First Conference Loss Since 2006
By Brian Smith '12, Staff Writer
As the No. 1 team in the country, the Amherst women’s hockey team went to Maine last weekend ready to take on Colby College and defend their ranking. In addition, Amherst carried a 52-game unbeaten streak in regular season conference play, and this weekend provided a chance to increase the streak. Although Colby had only accumulated two wins before the weekend, they were certainly going to give it their best shot against the best team in the country.

In the first game of the weekend double-header, Amherst skated to a strong start, with senior Molly Malloy and junior Megan Curry scoring goals within the first five minutes. In between the pipes for the Lord Jeffs was junior Caroline Hu, who was able to make three saves during the first period. The Mules, however, were able to cut the 2-0 Amherst lead in half by the end of the period. With the score sitting at 2-1, the Jeffs went into the intermission with the intention to come back onto the ice and keep their lead.

Almost immediately, the Mules were able to tie the score at the beginning of the second period. With only 45 seconds taken off the clock, the Jeffs now found themselves deadlocked and in need of a goal to regain their lead. Junior tri-captain Courtney Hanlon answered the call just 21 seconds later, scoring what would end up being the game-winning goal. Captain Kirsten Dier ’10 added another goal in the second, while Geneva Lloyd ’13 and Curry added goals in third. The final score was 6-2, as Amherst’s four unanswered goals proved to be too much for Colby.

Amherst played Colby again the next day, hoping to obtain the same result from the night before. A recurring issue that has affected the Jeffs this year is the level of competition that they face during the second day of play. Two weeks ago, Amherst was able to beat Hamilton 5-0 to start the weekend, and the next day produced a tie score of 3-3. Amherst head coach Jim Plumer believes that teams play harder against Amherst, especially because of the team’s No. 1 ranking. “Teams play up for us, and they have a lot of energy coming into the game,” said Plumer. “The second game of a weekend series is always tough.”

While the Jeffs were concerned with obtaining a follow-up victory, Colby was equally as anxious to play Amherst after seeing them the night before. With new knowledge on the Amherst style of play, the Mules started game two with vigor, scoring three goals in the first period alone. This would prove to be all the goals that they would need. While very resilient, the two goals scored by Malloy and senior Michelle McGann were just not enough to give the Jeffs a victory. The loss put an end to the incredible 53-game unbeaten streak in regular season conference play. The loss also moved the Jeffs down one spot in the national rankings, putting them as the No. 2 team behind No. 1 Plattsburgh.

Although the loss was hard for the team, they were certainly aware of what they could learn from it. “We just need to learn how to play our game against every team, no matter how good or bad they are,” said Alyssa Chwick ’10. “Every team we play is going to give us their best shot.”

Other members of the team echoed that sentiment. “This past weekend, Coach Plumer made the analogy that our team is like vampires in that when we play an opponent, we infect them with a little bit of ourselves that they feed off of the following day,” said McGann. “Colby invoked the truth of that analogy this weekend by capitalizing on our defensive breakdowns and preventing us from converting on our scoring chances.”

The team also realizes that they need to stay focused, prepare and play their style of game. Curry stated, “If we play our game for 60 minutes, we would be much happier with the outcome regardless of what we see in our opponent the second day.” Malloy also commented on the team’s second chance struggles. “If we come out strong the second day and put a few goals on the board early, we can take the wind out of a team that is looking for a better performance,” she said. “We did not execute that game plan against Colby, and paid for it.”

Eager for redemption, the Jeffs took on St. Anselm College on Tuesday night. Scoreless through the first two periods, Amherst caught a break when Lloyd scored a goal 51 seconds after the third period started. The Jeff defense, as well as goalie Hu, was able to hold on for the rest of the game, with a final score of 1-0. The shutout was Hu’s fourth of the year.

The Jeffs will play Bowdoin at Orr Rink on Friday at 7 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday.

Issue 13, Submitted 2010-02-03 02:41:31