Contact: Justin Long
AMHERST, Mass. – The seventh-ranked Amherst College women's hockey team used exceptional defense and a 30-save performance by Sinead Murphy '12 to earn a 2-0 upset victory over top-ranked Norwich University Tuesday evening in Orr Rink.
The Cadets (14-2-1) came to town riding a 14-game unbeaten streak as the defending NCAA Division III champions, but Ellen Swiontkowski '12 scored early in the second period and Tori Salmon '15 added some insurance in the third to help the Lord Jeffs (13-3-0) bump their win streak to three games.
Tuesday marked the first time Norwich had been shut out since Dec. 6, 2009, as the Cadets had scored at least one goal in 68 consecutive games. Murphy was fantastic in net all night, with her 30 stops improving her to 7-2-0 on the season.
Norwich senior assistant captain Julie Fortier entered the game leading all of Division III in goals per game, and it took her only 18 seconds to hit the crossbar. She gathered a loose puck along the left boards in the neutral zone, skated toward the net and tried to beat Murphy glove-side, but her slap shot missed by an inch.
The Cadets kept the pressure on and nearly scored seven minutes into the game when they once again tried to beat Murphy glove-side, but the Amherst senior knocked the puck away with her left pad to deny Tyne Grove '15 a goal. Murphy came up with another big save with five minutes to play in the period when Norwich sent a pass from behind the net to an open Stephanie Invernizzi '13, whose one-timer was swallowed up by the Lord Jeff goalie.
Swiontkowski broke the 0-0 tie early in the second period when the Jeffs scored on the power play against the top-ranked penalty kill unit in Division III. Lloyd set up the goal with a bullet from in front of the blue line, as her attempt went wide right. The puck caromed off the back boards to Swiontkowski, who was stationed in front of the net and was able to push a shot past Kelly Fisk '14 for a 1-0 Amherst lead 3:35 into the period.
Megan Doyen '13 set up Amherst's second goal by catching Norwich on a line change, as she collected the puck and quickly put two shots on net. On the ensuing face-off she dug the puck out along the boards and swung it around to Kaitlin McInnis '13, who sent a pass to Salmon. The Amherst first-year then beat Fisk stick-side to make it a 2-0 game with 16:32 to play, giving her a goal in each of her past three games.
Murphy made 10 saves in the third period, with one of her best coming at 7:30 when she snagged a rebound attempt by Jillayne DeBus '13. The Cadets called a timeout at 17:17 and pulled Fisk shortly after, but the Jeffs continued to play exceptional defense and preserved their fifth shutout of the year.
Fisk entered the game with a 9-0-0 record as the national leader in save percentage and goals-against average, and she put in another solid effort with 24 saves in 57:23. The Cadets had scored on 38.6 percent of their power play chances in their first 16 games, but they came up empty on all five of their opportunities tonight. Amherst was 1-for-4 on the power play, with Norwich holding a 30-26 edge in shots.
The Lord Jeffs will travel to take on Connecticut College Friday at 7 p.m., while the Cadets will host New England College Saturday at 1 p.m.