Third-Period Flurry Leads Jeffs Past Ephs, 5-1

Baranek2 Courtesy of Williams College

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. – The third-ranked Amherst College women's hockey team used a three-goal third period to pull away for a 5-1 win at Williams College Friday evening, as the Lord Jeffs increased their winning streak to six games.

Amherst improved to 16-3 (10-1 NESCAC) and held on to first place in the conference standings, while the Ephs (9-10, 5-6) suffered their 11th consecutive loss to their archrivals after being held to only eight shots on goal. 

The Jeffs notched the game's first goal at 6:39 when forward Emily Vitale '12 took a pass in the right slot from teammate Avery Stone'14. Vitale then wristed a shot over the stick-side shoulder of Eph goalie Chloe Billadeau, finding the back of the net by sneaking the puck just underneath the crossbar. 

The Lord Jeffs extended their lead to two as an Eph power play expired at 16:46. During a Williams line change, Emily Flom '15 passed the puck up to Courtney Baranek '14 into Amherst's offensive zone.  Baranek wristed a shot that deflected off the post, hit Billadeau's back and ricocheted into the goal, with Barrett McBride '14 also recording an assist on the goal.

The Ephs got on the board with 9:05 to play in the second period to close the Lord Jeffs' lead to 2-1. Cristina Bravi won a faceoff in Amherst's defensive zone and drew the puck back to Kate Foley, who rocketed a shot from the point. Sophomore netminder Kerri Stuart made the initial stop, but senior captain Hannah Systrom was there to put home the rebound. 

Following a fifth Eph penalty, the Lord Jeffs maximized their power play opportunity and struck again 3:59 into the final period. After working the puck around the perimeter, Ellen Swiontkowski '12 sent it across the blue line to a waiting Stephanie Clegg '12 situated on the point. Clegg rifled a shot that deflected off a Williams stick and over Billadeau's shoulder, giving Amherst a 3-1 lead.

The merciless Amherst offense upped its lead again at the 6:57 mark, with its fourth goal coming from first-year Anne Gillard.  It was the first career goal for Gillard, who was set up by fellow rookie Tori Salmon '15. 

Amherst closed out the scoring with 7:37 remaining in regulation when Salmon slid the puck across the ice to Flom, who fired a shot from the low left side past Billadeau to take a commanding four-goal lead. 

Billadeau finished the game with 21 saves for the Ephs, while Stuart turned away seven Williams shots.

The Jeffs and Ephs will square off again tomorrow in Williamstown, with the opening face-off set for 3 p.m.