(photos by Claire Jia '15)
AMHERST, Mass. - For the second straight game, the No. 9/7 Amherst College women's hockey team notched a 2-0 victory over archrival Williams College in NESCAC action on Saturday afternoon at Orr Rink.
With the win, Amherst improves to 14-2-3 on the season, 9-1-2 in NESCAC play, while Williams moves to 8-9-2 overall, 5-5-2 in conference action.
In the opening period, Alex Toupal '18 had a pair of opportunities eight minutes into the contest, but Williams goalie Christina Cleroux made two point-blank stops to keep the game knotted at 0-0. With just over six minutes to play in the stanza, Erin Martin '16 deked an Ephs' defender and fired a shot that Cleroux batted down to Anne Gillard '15 who then put the rebound back on target, but the goaltender made a lunge to her right to cover the puck. Amherst outshot Williams, 13-8 in the period.
Just 35 seconds into the second stanza, the Jeffs struck for the game's first goal when assistant captain Tori Salmon '15 nudged the puck on to Caitlyn Ryan '17 who blasted a shot from the right point. Emma Griese '18 controlled Ryan's shot and then deposited the puck into the back of the net with her back to the goal to give the Purple & White a 1-0 lead.
With her assist on the game's opening goal, Salmon now has 94 career points and is six points shy of eclipsing the 100-point milestone.
Amherst then had several opportunities to add to its lead when Sullivan fired a shot that struck the crossbar. The puck then found its way to Lynndy Smith '17 who fired a shot into Cleroux's pads and the rebound fell to Sullivan who was in perfect position to secure the puck. Cleroux then dove on the puck before Sullivan could send it across the goaline to keep the score at 1-0.
At the 10:51 mark, the Jeffs extended their lead to 2-0 when Toupal found positioning in front of Cleroux and was able to direct the puck past the Ephs' goalie. Toupal scored following an initial shot by Smith from the center of the blue line that careened off Gillard on its way towards the goal.
Early in the third frame, Sara Leaman dribbled the puck in front of the Amherst goal and fired a shot on goal, but Jeffs' goalie Yuna Evans '17 made tremendous save sliding to her right to keep the score at 2-0. The Ephs continued to apply pressure on the Purple & White, but timely blocking by Amherst's defenders and strong play from Evans kept Williams from cutting its deficit in half.
For the second straight game, Williams pulled its goaltender in favor of an extra skater, but the Jeffs held on for the 2-0 win.
Evans (8-1-1) finished with 24 saves, while Cleroux (4-5-2) picked up 30 stops for the Ephs. Leaman and Emily Krueger tied for the game-high in shots on goal for Williams, while Smith added six shots on frame for Amherst.
The Purple & White was awarded the lone extra-man opportunity of the contest which came at 14:16 of the second period, but could not capitalize on the power play.
Amherst returns to action on Tuesday, Feb. 10 when it hosts Salve Regina in non-conference action. Puck-drop is slated for 7 p.m. at Orr Rink.