Amherst Women's Hockey Loses Heartbreaker to Top-Ranked Middlebury, 4-3

AMHERST, MA – The Amherst College women's hockey team suffered a heartbreaking 4-3 defeat to visiting top-ranked Middlebury College on Friday night at Orr Rink. With the loss, Amherst falls to 2-3 overall and 2-3 in conference play, while Middlebury remains undefeated at 5-0 (5-0 NESCAC).

In a game that was a battle for momentum, it was Middlebury who had just enough to squeeze past the Jeffs. Middlebury opened a dominating first period when Annemarie Cellino (W. Seneca, NY) scored off a feed from Shannon Tarront (Brookfield, CT) on a two-player advantage to give the Panthers an early lead. Less than a minute later, Middlebury struck again just as the Jeffs were coming to full strength when Karen Levin (Morton Grove, IL) finished off assists from Shannon Sylvester (Randolph, NJ) and Tania Kenny (Toronto, ON). Middlebury added to the lead six minutes later when Emily Quizon (Chino Hills, CA) scored on Kenny's second assist to give the Panthers a 3-0 edge at the first intermission.

The Jeffs came out flying around the ice in the second stanza and controlled play with great offensive pressure. Rookie sensation Lindsey Harrington (Westford, MA) cut into Middlebury's lead with her fifth score of the season, burying a gorgeous wrister over the left shoulder of Middlebury goalie Kate Kogut (Springfield, MA). The Jeff onslaught continued when junior defender Tes Siarnecki (Gardener, MA) took a pass and calmly beat a Middlebury defender before firing home a perfectly placed shot. Sophomore forward Elizabeth Ditmore (Excelsior, MN) and junior tri-captain Meg Dickoff (Minnetonka, MN) tallied the assists on the score. The Jeffs continued to pressure Middlebury and despite being down a player, the Jeffs knotted the score at three when junior forward Rachel Simon (West Orange, NJ) poked the puck away from a Middlebury skater after terrific fore-checking by the Jeffs penalty-killing unit. Rookie forward Tarasai Karega (Detroit, MI) scored her fifth goal of the year after collecting the puck and burying a shot sending Orr Rink into an uproar as Amherst put the top-ranked Panthers on the ropes. Amherst continued to carry play throughout the period but was unable to net the go ahead score.

After a very tight start of the third period, Amherst nearly snatched the lead numerous times during the final session but Kogut turned aside the Amherst opportunities. Middlebury finally broke the tie when Tarrant scored off assists from Sylvester and Abby Kurtz-Phelan (Denver, CO) with five minutes to play in the game. Sophomore goalie Stacey Johnston (Kingston, ON) had a tremendous game in net for the Jeffs making 29 saves.

Amherst returns to action tomorrow (Saturday) at 3 p.m., hosting Little Three and NESCAC rival Williams College.