AMHERST, MA – Earlier this afternoon the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) announced its 2006-07 Women's Ice Hockey All-Conference selections, with a trio of Amherst standouts making the First-Team. Amherst grabbed a first-teamer at every position, in addition to the NESCAC Rookie of the Year and Coach of the Year.
Amherst first-year goaltender Krystyn Elek (Summerville, S.C.) was named to the All-NESCAC First-Team for her efforts this year, and was also named the Rookie of the Year. Elek ranks among the top three in almost every statistical category this season, including conference goals-against-average (1.68, 2nd), save percentage (.934; 3rd) and winning percentage (.711; 3rd). The young netminder has been vital to the team's success this season, posting a 12-4-3 record while registering four shutouts, and should be the foundation for Amherst's future.
Joining Elek on the First-Team is first-year defender Kirsten Dier (Appleton, WI) and sophomore forward Tarasai Karega (Detriot, MI). Playing in all 25 games this season, Dier is third among conference first-year players in scoring with five goals, three coming on the power-play, and 17 assists for 22 points. The rookie blue liner also sits in a two-way tie for third in points by league defenders.
Leading the Amherst attack all season has been Karega, who despite constantly being one of the smallest players on the ice, uses amazing stick skills and speed to blow past the opposition. Karega sits in a two-way tie for third in the conference in points with 15 goals and 16 assists for 31 points, 10 points higher than her rookie season last winter. She also ranks first in game-winners with seven and is in a three-way tie for first in power-play goals with seven markers. Karega tallied a hat trick in back-to-back games in January, scoring three goals at Wis.-River Falls on Jan. 13 and another three against Connecticut College on Jan. 17. Her assist against the Camels gave her a four-point evening, the first of her career with the Jeffs.
Head coach Jim Plumer deserves much of the credit for the young Jeffs' breakout season in 2006-07 as he was chosen by his counterparts as the NESCAC Coach of the Year for the first time in his four-year career at Amherst. Plumer has guided the Jeffs to their most successful season in program history with a 17-5-3 overall mark (10-3-3 conference), and a 13-1-3 record since the start of 2007.
Outside the NESCAC, Elek was named the USCHO.com Defensive Player of the Week for her 32 save effort against Williams in the conference quarterfinals. Teammate Kate Dennett (Highland Ranch, CO) also received honorable mention for the USCHO.com Offensive Player of the Week for her pair of goals in the win.
Amherst will take to the road on Saturday when they face Bowdoin at Middlebury in the NESCAC Semi-finals at 4 p.m.
2006-07 NESCAC WOMEN'S HOCKEY ALL CONFERENCE
Player of the Year: Abby Kurtz-Phelan, Middlebury
Rookie of the Year: Krysten Elek, Amherst
Coach of the Year: Jim Plumer, Amherst
F Meghan Gillis ^ Bowdoin Sr. (Whycocomagh, N.S.)
F Tarasai Karega Amherst So. (Detroit, Mich.)
F Abby Kurtz-Phelan Middlebury Sr. (Denver, Colo.)
D Kirsten Dier Amherst Fy. (Appleton, Wis.)
D Shannon Tarrant * Middlebury Sr. (Brookfield, Conn.)
G Krysten Elek Amherst Fy. (Summerville, S.C.)
F Annmarie Cellino * Middlebury So. (W. Seneca, N.Y.)
F Michelle Chee Trinity So. (San Francisco, Calif.)
F Shannon Sylvester Middlebury (Sr. Randolph, N.J.)
D Kirsten Cameron * Bowdoin Jr. (Charlottetown, P.E.I.)
D Kelley McCarthy Trinity So. (Kingston, Mass.)
G Lani Wright Middlebury Fy. (Reading, Mass.)
* - 2005-06 All-Conference First Team
^ - 2005-06 All-Conference Second Team