Gliding Into Action
By Brian Smith '12, Staff Writer
After having their 53-game winning streak snapped by Colby last weekend, Amherst looked to regain the composure that has brought them success throughout the season. They began their quest to climb back to the top last week on Tuesday, beating St. Anselm College 1-0 on a third period goal from Ellen Swiontkowski ’12, who was assisted by Alyssa Chwick ’10 and Geneva Lloyd ’13. The clutch win gave the Lord Jeffs the confidence that they would need during their next weekend series against Bowdoin.

This past weekend gave plenty of Amherst fans reason to believe that the Jeffs are playing better than almost any other team in the country. On Friday night, the Jeffs took to the ice against the Bowdoin Polar Bears in what would turn out to be an absolute thriller of a game. In the first period, Amherst gave up an early goal to the Polar Bears, and the score quickly put the Jeffs in 1-0 hole. In goal for the Jeffs was sophomore Sinead Murphy, who came into the game with a 1.27 goals against average, ranking her fourth in the country. Although another goal got past Murphy early in the second period, her consistency in-between the pipes would prove to help Amherst in attaining another victory.

After Bowdoin scored its second goal, it looked like they were in complete control of the game. With the score now at 2-0 in Bowdoin’s favor, the Jeffs were in serious need of scoring opportunities. Amherst has prided itself all year on its ability to create scoring opportunities, and this game proved no different. The Jeffs’ aggression put enormous pressure on Bowdoin, and they placed an extraordinary amount of shots on goal, giving the freshman Bowdoin goalie plenty to worry about. Senior Michelle McGann was able to get Amherst back in the game with a brilliant one-timer, with Braidie Campbell ’11 and Josie Fisher ’12 contributing with assists.

About five minutes later, Lloyd was able to put one in the net on a turn-around wrist shot off a rebound, tying the game and reenergizing the crowd. Three minutes later, the 500 plus fans at Orr Rink were on their feet once more as senior Kirsten Dier scored what would prove to be the game-winning goal on the power play.

The win gave the Jeffs a major morale boost, as well as proof of what the team can do when placed in difficult circumstances. “The goals given up were due to defensive breakdowns,” said head coach Jim Plumer. “Bowdoin played hard. The game was a work in a progress, but it was good for us.” Junior Brittney Evans echoed Plumer’s statement. “The loss against Colby served as a wake-up call reminding us that we have to show up prepared for every game and that each team we play is going to come out [playing] hard,” she said. “Going into the Bowdoin weekend with this mentality, we were ready for them to play us tough and that helped us respond to their goals early in the game on Friday.”

With another win under their belt, Amherst came ready to play the next day, which also happened to be Senior Day. The Jeffs started the game extremely strong, with Lloyd and junior Cianna Wyshnytzky scoring goals in the first period, giving Amherst a 2-0 lead. In the second period, senior Kate Dennett gave Amherst a 3-0 lead over the Polar Bears on the power play. More havoc ensued during the third period, when Amherst poured on two more goals on Bowdoin, one from McGann and one from Molly Malloy ’10, leaving the score at 5-0.

A remarkable feature of Saturday’s Senior Day was the fact that each senior on the team tallied a point. Dennett, McGann and Malloy each scored goals for the Jeffs, while Dier and Chwick contributed with one helper apiece.

Saturday’s gameplay bordered near perfection, and it couldn’t have come at a better time for the Jeffs, who find themselves preparing for a division clash with Williams next weekend. “We played fundamentally sound on Saturday,” Plumer said. “We’re really excited to play Williams next weekend.”

When the Jeffs take on Williams this weekend, they will be seeing a familiar face on the opposing bench. Williams head coach Marissa O’Neil was an Amherst assistant coach for the past two years. Amherst will take on their former coach and their archrival twice this weekend, with a chance to seal the top spot of the NESCAC standings. Both games, Friday night at 7 p.m. and Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m., will be played at Williams. Live coverage will be available for both games.

Issue 14, Submitted 2010-02-10 03:22:14