No. 3 Women’s Hockey Skates Past Trinity
By Matt Fernald '13, Sports Section Editor

The women’s ice hockey team dropped from No. 1 to No. 3 in the national rankings this week, but showed that its spirits have not been dampened after two strong games on the road against eighth-ranked Trinity this past weekend. The Jeffs won the first contest 6-2 on Friday night before posting a 2-2 tie on Saturday afternoon, a game in which they surrendered a two-goal lead in the third period.

In the first game, the Jeffs peppered the Trinity net with a barrage of shots early on, out-shooting the Bantams 12-2 during the first period. Despite grossly outplaying Trinity in the first period, Amherst found itself tied in a 1-1 game.

The Jeffs’ dominant play, however, was reflected on the scoreboard during the second period. The Jeffs stymied the Trinity offense in the second frame and became more efficient with their own scoring opportunities, netting three goals to build a 4-1 lead. Junior Josie Fisher scored the go-ahead goal midway through the period to give Amherst a 2-1 lead, and the Jeffs built upon their advantage through fine play that resulted in goals from rookie Ashley Salerno and senior Courtney Hanlon. The final goal came with just eight seconds remaining in the period, inflicting a crushing blow to the home side.

Trinity took the initiative early on in the third period, scoring a rebound goal to cut Amherst’s lead to 4-2, and the Bantams looked to make an improbable comeback. The Jeffs, however, tightened things up in the defensive end after that goal, holding the Bantams to only three shots in the third period. On offense, the Jeffs continued to sustain pressure against the Bantams, scoring two insurance goals en route to a 6-2 victory.

In stark contrast to a week ago, when they were handed back-to-back losses by the Rochester Institute of Technology, the Jeffs were firing on all cylinders on Friday, especially on the penalty kill. Trinity enjoyed seven power plays in Friday’s game, but could convert only once against the stingy Amherst penalty kill unit.

Amherst and Trinity faced off once again the following evening. The second game started much more slowly, as both teams struggled to establish offensive rhythm in a scoreless first period.

The Jeffs intensified their efforts in the second period, and gained a 2-0 lead by the end of the frame. Hanlon scored the team’s first goal of the night, while junior Stephanie Clegg scored the other, allowing the Jeffs to end the second period full of optimism. After outshooting the Bantams 19-8 after two periods, Amherst appeared to be cruising to victory.

The complexion of the game changed radically in the third period, however, as Trinity picked up their level of play, out-shooting the Jeffs 10-7 in the final frame. Skating with a sense of desperation, the Bantams cut the deficit to 2-1 midway through the third period.

After a tense, scoreless stretch, Trinity senior captain Kim Weiss tied the game in dramatic fashion with just 53 seconds remaining in regulation. In overtime, the Jeffs did well to hold off whatever momentum the Bantams had gained in their comeback, but could not produce a goal of their own and were forced to settle for a 2-2 tie.

Standing at 3-2-1 overall (3-0-1 in NESCAC), Amherst has yet to play its best hockey, but the Jeffs have demonstrated flashes of the brilliance that propelled them to a national championship last season, showing that they are as capable and talented as any team in Div. III.

The Jeffs will not have much time to dwell on Saturday’s disappointing tie, as their next game will be a thrilling rematch of last year’s NCAA final against Norwich.

Issue 11, Submitted 2010-12-08 15:48:34