Ferocious First Leads Jeffs Past Williams, 7-2

Gillard2 Contact: Matthew Hart

AMHERST, Mass. – Anne Gillard '15 scored two of the Jeffs' four first-period goals and Tori Salmon '15 tallied a goal and three assists as the Amherst College women's hockey team raced to a 7-2 win over Williams College Friday night at Orr Rink.

The Jeffs improved to 7-3-1 in NESCAC play (9-7-1 overall), defeating the Ephs (8-10-1, 4-6-1 NESCAC) for the 13th consecutive time as they outshot the visitors 36-26, including a 30-13 edge over the opening two periods.

In addition to Gillard and Salmon's strong nights, Geneva Lloyd '13 notched a goal and an assist for Amherst while Megan Doyen '13, Barrett McBride '14 and Emily Flom '15 also struck for the Jeffs. With Amherst leading 6-0 after two periods, Aimee Dennett '13 and Sam Cutts '15 scored power-play goals for Williams in the third to break up the shutout.

Pressuring the Williams net early, Amherst started the scoring just over four minutes into the contest as Salmon found Gillard in the slot for a close-range finish, her second goal of the year.

Salmon got in on the act again five minutes later, giving Amherst a two-goal cushion as she snuck a quick mid-range shot through the Eph defense and past goalie Chloe Billadeau '15 for an unassisted tally, her fifth strike of the season. 

Going on the power play two minutes later, the Jeffs made it comfortable for themselves as Lloyd ripped a shot from the right point and Doyen finished it off from close range for a 3-0 cushion with 8:44 still to play in the first. Scoring her ninth of the year, Doyen momentarily tied Lloyd for the team lead in goals while Lloyd notched her 11th assist and Ashley Salerno '14 also tallied a helper, her sixth.

Keeping its foot on the gas, Amherst capped the big period, scoring again with 4:31 still on the clock. Seconds after Billadeau saved Salmon's breakaway attempt, Madeline Tank '15 found Gillard from deep on the left side and the sophomore continued her breakout night, finishing from close range with Salmon joining Tank in the assist column on the play.

With Amherst continuing to push early in the second, Billadeau stemmed the tide momentarily, making a pair of impressive saves on close-range shots from Salmon. The Jeffs padded their lead at the 6:41 mark, however, with McBride blasting a slap shot past Billadeau from the right faceoff circle for her first goal of the season.

With just over a minute remaining in the frame, Flom joined in on the scoring for Amherst, using some nice stick-work to slice past the defense on the left side for an unassisted close-range strike, her fourth of the year.

Williams finally broke the shutout, scoring on the power play 2:24 into the third as Dennett sliced through the Amherst defense left-to-right and beat Amherst goalie Kerri Stuart '14 from the slot for her first tally of the year. Caitlin Conlon '15 picked up an assist on the play.

The Ephs added a second power play goal with 3:18 remaining as Cutts won a battle in front of the net, finishing from near the right post for her second of the year with Abby Belcrest '16 and Dennett assisting.

Unwilling to let Williams have the last highlight, Lloyd capped the high-scoring affair with 1:17 to play, cashing in on an Amherst power play with a mid-range wrist shot that snuck past new Williams goalie Rachel Nguyen '14 for her team-best 10th strike of the year. Salmon picked up her third helper of the night and team-leading 14th of the season on the play.

Stuart saved 24 shots in the Amherst net while Billadeau also stopped 24 for Williams and Nguyen tallied five saves during her one period of work for the Ephs.

The rivals will be back in action Saturday at 3 p.m. in a game which will mark the teams' inaugural Pink in the Rink fundraiser to support the fight against breast cancer.