AMHERST, MA – The Amherst College women's hockey team hosted the College of Holy Cross this evening in a non-conference slate after returning from a five game road trip and a week off. Amherst found the net early and often, finishing off the Crusaders 6-3 at home.
The Lord Jeffs were recipients of the game's opening power play just three minutes into the first period when Sam Rush (Wakefield, MA) was whistled for hooking. Amherst wasted no time finding the net, scoring just 0:43 into the special teams opportunity. First-year forward Michelle McGann (New Berlin, CT) registered the game-opener while sophomore Lindsey Harrington (Westford, MA) and senior tri-captain Tes Siarnacki (Gardner, MA) grabbed the assists.
In what had the beginnings of a blow out, credit must be given to the Crusaders who played solid defense for the rest of the opening frame, holding Amherst to only one goal. The Lord Jeffs out-shot Holy Cross by a 7-6 margin in the first period, but came away with just the lone McGann tally.
The Crusaders' persistence on defense was rewarded on a power play of their own with less than three minutes to go. Katelyn Doherty (Toronto, ON) scored the equalizer for Holy Cross, while Erica von DeGraaf (Guelph, ON) and Lisa Wilson (Corunna, ON) nabbed assists on the well executed screen and deflection.
Amherst opened the second period with a power play opportunity just one minute into the stanza, moving the puck nicely between Siarnacki, McGann and Harrington. Pinging the puck back-and-forth in the slot, Amherst eventually found Harrington on the door step for an easy finish to take a 2-1 lead.
Holy Cross squandered a crucial power play chance when Wilson was called for body-checking, setting up a 4-on-4 situation. While Amherst clearly had the upper hand with the ice opened up, the Jeffs were unable to stretch their lead.
With just 19.2 seconds showing on the clock, Amherst's McGann was hauled down in front of the Holy Cross net with the puck, but Anna MacLean (Edina, MN) pounced on the loose puck and shuttled a back-hand shot above the goaltender's shoulder.
Wilson snagged her second point of the game early in the third period on a long possession by Holy Cross when she flung a deep wrist shot on Amherst goaltender Lindsay Grabowski (Princeton, NJ). The Amherst stopper looked to be screened, and was unable to keep the puck out of her net.
Amherst took the lead back to two-goals when first-year Kate Dennett (Highland Ranch, CO) scored her ninth goal of the year on a power play with assists from classmate Kristen Dier (Appleton, WI) and points leader Tarasai Karega (Detroit, MI).
A late short-handed goal for Holy Cross allowed the Crusaders to climb back into the game at 4-3 with just 2:22 left, when Rush netted an unassisted goal.
Amherst skated out the final two minutes of the third period, maintaining heavy pressure on Holy Cross goaltender, Casey McCullion (Philadelphia, PA). Amherst responded to the Rush goal just half a minute later when Karega found the net, and again with under a minute to play when Harrington scored her third goal of the game.
The win moves the Lord Jeffs to 13-5-2 on the year heading into their last four regular season games. Amherst returns to action at home this weekend when they host NESCAC rivals Middlebury and Williams. The Jeffs drop the puck Friday night with Middlebury at 7 p.m.