Courtesy of Middlebury Sports Information
MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – The second-seeded Amherst College women's hockey team used a goal from Lynndy Smith '17, but a score by third-seeded Trinity College's Cheeky Herr 8:37 into overtime allowed the Bantams to claim a 2-1 victory in Saturday afternoon's NESCAC Championship semifinal contest at Chip Kenyon Arena on the campus of top-seeded Middlebury College.
Trinity (17-6-2) advances to Sunday's championship game at 2:00 p.m. and will play top-seeded and host Middlebury, a 4-2 victor over fifth-seeded Bowdoin College in the day's other semifinal. Amherst moves to 17-5-4 and will await a possible at-large bid to the NCAA Division III Championship.
The first period action saw each team record eight shots on goal. Amherst's best scoring opportunity came at 9:30 when Erin Martin '16 put a shot toward net from the left wing that skipped off the top of Trinity goalie Sydney Belinskas' glove and fell harmlessly away. Trinity looked to get on the board at 13:10 when Caroline Howell collected an errant pass and on a breakaway and wristed a shot that was turned away by Purple & White goalie Yuna Evans's right pad.
In the second period, Amherst had a pair of five-on-three chances for 17 seconds early in the period and also for a 1:42 stretch three minutes in but weren't able to get on the board. Alex Toupal '18 had a great scoring chance with the extra skater, but her shot from point blank was saved by Belinskas with her facemask. With the Jeffs possessing a 14-9 shot advantage in the period, Smith took advantage of a Trinity turnover on its defensive blueline and scored a short-handed unassisted goal at 15:09, her sixth goal of the season to give Amherst a 1-0 lead at the second intermission.
In the third period, Trinity had a five-on-three advantage for 1:32 a little over two minutes in and managed three shots on goal. At 7:45, Toupal looked to put the Jeffs up by two when she streaked down the left and wristed a shot, but Belinskas snatched the attempt with her glove on the wide side. The Bantams tied the game at 1-1 at the 14:48 mark when Jessica Stowell laced a shot from the right point that was tipped in by Howell, who was camped out in front of the crease. Both teams had limited scoring opportunities over the final five minutes of regulation and headed to the extra period tied at 1-1.
Nearly seven minutes in, Trinity had a trio of scoring opportunities but couldn't score the game-winner. A little more than 90 seconds later, Herr battled for position as she skated to her left and deked Evans allowing her to score her 17th goal of the season following a pass from Emma Tani.
For the contest, Amherst held a slight 34-31 advantage in shots as Belinskas tallied 33 saves for the Bantams, while Evans was credited with 29 stops for the Jeffs.