Contact: Ben Badua
MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – Despite junior goaltender Kerri Stuart's 26 saves, the Amherst women's hockey team saw its season come to a close with a 3-1 loss to Bowdoin in the NESCAC Championship semifinals at Kenyon Arena.
Finishing with a 13-11-1 overall record, Amherst failed to advance to the conference championship game for the first time since the 2005-06 season. Today's contest also marked the last in the careers of Kaitlyn McInnis '13, Megan Doyen '13 and Geneva Lloyd '13, who helped the Jeffs post a 76-25-8 ledger over the last four seasons. Together, the Class of 2013 helped guide Amherst to a pair of NCAA Tournament berths and three trips to the NESCAC finals, which included both a league championship and national championship during the 2009-10 campaign.
Jumping out to an early lead, Bowdoin's Madeline Lane '14 netted her third goal of the season just 6:06 after the opening faceoff off of a Kayte Holtz '13 assist.
Looking to get on the board in the latter stages of the first period, Barrett McBride '14 skated up the left side on a breakaway inside of the four minute mark. With the Jeff forward bearing down, Kayla Lessard '13 made a nice glove save to keep the Purple & White off the board.
Just over a minute later, Erin Martin '16 generated another golden opportunity, coming in alone on another odd-man rush, but Bowdoin's senior netminder made a sprawling pad stop at the near post. With Amherst on the power play with just over a minute left, Lessard capped off a flurry of activity in front, denying Doyen's quick shot from point-blank range as Bowdoin headed into the locker room with a 1-0 edge.
Midway through the second period, Amherst nearly capitalized on a Polar Bear miscue that resulted in a loose puck in the crease, but Lessard poked it away from danger just before a charging Emily Flom '15 could put it on net. With just about five minutes left in the frame, Bowdoin's leading scorer Rachel Kennedy '16 broke free, rushing up ice on a breakaway. With a Jeff defender in pursuit, Kennedy tried to go to her forehand at the right post, but Stuart got just enough to push the try wide and keep Amherst within one.
On the power play with less than 20 seconds left in the period, Kennedy again tested Stuart with a wrister from the slot before nearly hammering home the ensuing rebound. After the puck squirted into the corner, the Polar Bears dug it out, once again getting it to the front of the net, but Stuart stood tall, making another big stick save to keep Bowdoin from pushing it across the goal line as time expired.
Getting outshot 13-1 in the second period, Lloyd tried to get something going for Amherst on a 3-on-2, but Lessard kicked out a low shot from between the circles to preserve the shutout with just over 13 minutes left in regulation. On the power play with just over nine to go, McInnis and Doyen each recorded a shot from point-blank range but Lessard was again up to the challenge, turning away both tries to keep the Jeffs off the board.
On the man-advantage with under five minutes to play, Bowdoin added to its tally, netting its second score at 15:42. Throwing it in front from the right boards, Kenzie Novak '13 found the stick of Stephanie Ludy '13, who tipped home the redirection.
Pulling Stuart for an extra skater with just 30 seconds remaining, Lloyd put a hard shot on goal from the point, scoring her 14th of the year to keep Amherst alive. In search of a second score, the Purple & White kept six skaters on the ice, but Bowdoin broke out if its defensive zone, capping off the scoring on Kennedy's empty netter at 19:50.
Despite getting outshot 14-8 in the final 20 minutes, Bowdoin held onto a slim 29-28 shot-on-goal advantage. Both teams finished 1-for-4 on the power play, while Lessard collected 27 saves.