(photos by Peter Connolly '18)
AMHERST, Mass. – The No. 9/7 Amherst College women's hockey team used a pair of first period goals and a 34-save effort from Yuna Evans '17 to help secure a 2-0 victory over NESCAC rival Williams College on Friday evening at Orr Rink.
With the win, Amherst improves to 13-2-3 overall, 8-1-2 in NESCAC action, while Williams moves to 8-8-2 on the season, 5-4-2 in conference play. Amherst and Williams return to action on Saturday, February 7 at 3 p.m. at Orr Rink.
In the opening period, senior assistant captain Tori Salmon collected her team-leading 15th goal of the season just 3:37 into the contest to give Amherst a 1-0 lead. The goal gives Salmon 93 points for her career and she is now just seven shy of reaching the 100-point milestone. First-year Emma Griese and Caitlyn Ryan '17 provided the helpers on the goal. Following the score, Williams was called for a cross checking penalty, giving the Jeffs an immediate man-advantage, but the Ephs were able to kill off the penalty and keep their deficit at 1-0.
The Purple & White extended its lead to 2-0 at the 14:27 mark when Erin Martin '16 ripped a shot from the right point that was turned aside by Williams' goalie Christina Cleroux. Amherst's Brenna Sullivan '18 was there to pick up the rebound and fired the puck into the back of the net to give the Jeffs a two-goal cushion. Emily Flom '15 was also credited with an assist on Sullivan's ninth marker of the campaign.
With just over a minute to play in the opening stanza, Williams' Michaela Levine fired a shot from one knee that Evans got a glove on to keep the score at 2-0 after 20 minutes of play.
After Amherst narrowly edged the Ephs in shots, 16-13 in the first stanza, Williams held a slight 8-6 advantage in shots on target in the second frame, and applied pressure late in the scoreless session after being awarded a five-minute major boarding penalty at the 17:55 mark.
In the third period on the carry-over five-minute power play, Sara Lehman and Chelsey Stevenson had back-to-back opportunities to cut Williams' deficit in half, but Evans made a pair of outstanding sprawling stops to preserve the two-goal lead. The Ephs registered seven shots on target in the first 2:55 of the third period but could not find the back of the net.
After Williams fended off consecutive Amherst power plays that gave the Jeffs a man-advantage for four minutes, Martin escaped down the right wing on a breakaway but Cleroux saved the shot attempt for her 33rd stop of the game.
The Ephs pressured the Amherst goal late in the period, lifting Cleroux in favor of an extra skater. Kearan Burke fired a pair of shots towards goal with one sailing wide and the other saved by Evans. Emily Elde also had a pair of opportunities to pot a goal but Evans was stellar between the posts as she saved one and saw the other drift off target as the Jeffs were able to complete the shutout victory.
Levine finished with seven shots on goal for Williams, while Lynndy Smith '17 finished with a game-high 10 shots on target for the Purple & White.
Cleroux (4-4-2) made 33 saves in the losing effort, while Evans improved to 7-1-1 following her 34-save outing.