MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – The No. 4/4 and second-seeded Amherst College women's ice hockey team is primed to take on third-seeded Connecticut College in a NESCAC Championship semifinal matchup on Saturday, March 5 at 4 p.m. on the campus of No. 1 seed Middlebury College at Kenyon Arena.
Saturday's other semifinal contest pits top-seeded Middlebury against fifth-seeded Trinity College at 1 p.m. The winners of each semifinal will advance to the NESCAC Championship title game on Sunday, March 6 at 2 p.m. at Kenyon Arena.
Saturday's semifinal contest will have livestats and a webcast broadcasted by the Northeast Sports Network (NSN).
HOW THEY GOT HERE
- Second-seeded Amherst defeated seventh-seeded Bowdoin, 2-1, in a NESCAC Quarterfinal overtime thriller at Orr Rink on Feb. 27.
- Third-seeded Connecticut College scored three unanswered goals to topple sixth-seeded Hamilton, 3-0, in New London, Conn. in quarterfinal action.
- Top-seeded Middlebury downed eighth-seeded Colby, 4-3, in Middlebury, Vt. in NESCAC Quarterfinal play.
- Defending NESCAC Champions and fifth-seeded Trinity upset fourth-seeded Williams, 2-1, in overtime in Williamstown, Mass. in the final quarterfinal matchup.
No. 2 Seed (21-1-3, 13-1-2 NESCAC) – Schedule/Roster/Stats
Amherst punched its ticket to the semifinals for the second-consecutive season after defeating Bowdoin, 3-2, in overtime in a thrilling quarterfinal game at Orr Rink.
Alex Toupal, Erin Martin and Eileen Harris have been stellar for the Amherst offensive this season, combing for 55 goals and 40 assists for 95 points. A scorer and playmaker, Toupal currently leads the team in assists with 16 in addition to 21 goals for a team-high 37 points. Her 1.54 points per game is 12th in the nation. Not far behind in points is Martin, who has accumulated 35 points on 13 assists and a team-leading 22 goals. Martin ranks just behind Toupal nationally in points per game with 1.40 (13th in nation). As the only other double-digit goal getter, Harris has also been impressive for Amherst this season, racking up 12 goals and 11 assist for 23 points. In addition to the trio, Amherst boasts seven additional skaters with double-digit points on the year.
Sabrina Dobbins (15-1-3) has been tabbed to start in goal 19 times this season for the Purple & White racking up five shutouts in 1157:16 minutes in between the pipes. Allowing just 25 goals while recording 488 stops, Dobbins currently sits atop the NESCAC in goals against average (1.30) and second in save percentage (.951). Bailey Plaman (6-0-0) has also fared well in net for Amherst, recording two shutouts, a .948 save percentage, and a 0.83 goals against average in 360:00 minutes.
Amherst and the Camels have not met in the postseason since the 2011-12 season that saw the Purple & White defeat Connecticut College 3-0 in quarterfinal play. Amherst swept the regular season series versus the Camels, 1-0 and 4-1.
SCOUTING CONNECTICUT COLLEGE
No. 3 Seed (15-7-3, 8-5-3 NESCAC) – Schedule/Roster/Stats
Connecticut College returns to the NESCAC semifinals for the first time since the 2013-14 season after toppling Hamilton, 3-0, in the quarterfinals.
Eclipsing the 20-point mark for the Camels this season is Stephanie Izzi, NESCAC Rookie of the Year Jordan Cross, and Elena Gualtieri. Both Izzi and Cross co-lead the team in goals, assists and points with 12, 11, and 23, respectively, while Gualtieri has tallied 11 helpers to go along with 10 goals for 21 points. Seven other Camels have notched double-digit points this season.
Katherine Chester (12-7-3) has been a staple in between the pipes for the Camels. Tabbed to start in net in 22 games, Chester has recorded six shutouts in 1329:54 minutes, while allowing 30 goals and racking up 609 saves for a 1.25 goals against average and a league-best .953 save percentage.
The Camels dropped both regular season games to Amherst, 1-0 and 4-1; however the two teams have not met since Nov. 20 and 21, the 2015-16 season's opening weekend.
No. 1 Seed (18-4-3, 13-0-3 NESCAC) – Schedule/Roster/Stats
Middlebury returns to the semifinal round of the NESCAC Championship for the second consecutive season in search for its eighth league crown after defeating Colby College, 4-3, in quarterfinal play.
NESCAC Player of the Year Maddie Winslow leads the way offensively for the Panthers, and has posted team highs in goals (14), assists (19), and points (34) heading into this weekend's semifinal matchup. Jessica Young and Elizabeth Wulf are next of the list, with Young tallying nine goals and 14 assists for 23 points and Wulf registering five goals and 12 helpers for 17 points. Shanna Hickman is the only other double-digit point getter for the Panthers with 11 points (six goals, five assists).
Julia Neuburger (10-3-2) has logged the majority of minutes in goal for the Panthers, recording four shutouts in 15 starts. In 889:43 minutes in net, Neuburger has made 287 saves while allowing 20 goals for a .935 save percentage and 1.35 goals against average. Marisa Dreher (5-1-0) has appeared in seven games for Middlebury, recording a .907 save percentage and 1.59 goals against average in 377:00 minutes.
The Panther's semifinal matchup with Trinity will mark a rematch of the 2014-15 NESCAC Championship game that saw the Bantams skate away with a 3-2 overtime victory. The two sides met twice in this year's the regular season, with Middlebury defeating the Bantams 5-1 and 2-1.
No. 5 Seed (15-8-2, 7-7-2 NESCAC) – Schedule/Roster/Stats
Defending NESCAC Champion Trinity College punched its ticket to a semifinal matchup for the second consecutive season after upsetting No. 4 Williams, 2-1, in overtime in quarterfinal action.
The Bantams are led by a trio of seniors who have all recorded 20-plus point seasons. Cheeky Herr has registered a team-leading 14 assists (tied for third in the NESCAC) in addition to eight goals for a team-high 22 points, while Emma Tani has notched 21 points on eight goals and 13 assists. The only double-digit goal scorer on the roster, Shannon Farrell has scored 14 goals along with six helpers for 20 points. Seven other Trinity skaters have earned double-digit point totals this season.
Sydney Belinskas (13-8-2) has been a constant in net this season for the Bantams, racking up 1396:11 minutes in 23 starts to post a .935 save percentage and 1.76 goals against average while notching five shutouts.
Trinity's semifinal matchup with Middlebury will mark a rematch of the 2014-15 NESCAC Championship game that saw the Bantams skate away with a 3-2 overtime victory and its first ever league title. The Bantams dropped both regular season games versus the Panthers this year, 5-1 and 2-1, however the two sides have not met since the season's opening weekend on Nov. 20 and 21.
2015-16 TALE OF THE TAPE
|No. 2 Amherst||
No. 3 ConnCollege
|No. 1 Middlebury||No. 5 Trinity|
|Goals Against Avg.||1.19||1.34||1.30||1.93|
2016 NESCAC CHAMPIONSHIP TOURNAMENT
Quarterfinals – Saturday, February 27 (at Higher Seeds)
No. 8 Colby at No. 1 Middlebury – 2 p.m.
No. 7 Bowdoin at No. 2 Amherst – 3 p.m.
No. 6 Hamilton at No. 3 Conn. College – 3 p.m.
No. 5 Trinity at No. 4 Williams – 1 p.m.
Semifinals – Saturday, March 5 (at Middlebury College)
No. 5 Trinity at No. 1 Middlebury - 1 p.m.
No. 2 Amherst vs. No. 3 Conn. College - 4 p.m.
Championship – Sunday, March 6 (at Middlebury College)