Amherst Suffers 5-4 Overtime Loss to Middlebury In NESCAC Title Game

Amherst Suffers 5-4 Overtime Loss to Middlebury In NESCAC Title Game

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – The No. 4/4 and second-seeded Amherst College women's ice hockey team fell to top-seeded Middlebury College in overtime, 5-4, in a back-and-forth and hard fought NESCAC Championship title matchup at Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vt.

With the loss, Amherst (22-2-3) awaits an at-large bid to the NCAA Division III Championship. Middlebury (20-4-3) earns the NESCAC automatic qualifier to the NCAA Division III Championship and awaits is first round opponent. The NCAA Selection Show will take place Monday, March 7 at 10 a.m.

HOW IT HAPPENED  

  • After falling behind 3-0 through the first 14 minutes of play, Amherst battled back to regain a one goal lead, 4-3, by the seven minute mark in the second stanza.
  • Middlebury responded with two unanswered goals, including the game winner 6:37 into overtime, to claim the NESCAC crown.
  • Neither team was able to convert on the power play, with the Purple & White going 0-for-2 and Middlebury finishing 0-for-4.
  • Amherst held a dominating 35-26 advantage in shots on goal, including a 13-4 edge in the third period.  
  • Sabrina Dobbins '18 (16-1-3) racked up 21 saves in goal for the Purple & White, while Julia Neuburger (11-3-2) collected 31 saves in between the pipes for the Panthers.

GAME HIGHLIGHTS

  • It took just 38 seconds for the Panthers to get on the scoreboard as Katie Mandigo caught the Purple & White on a change after a full ice breakout pass from Julia Wardwell and sent a shot from the top of the left circle between the legs of the Amherst netminder.
  • Jessica Young doubled Middlebury's lead 3:01 into the opening period. Collecting a centering pass from Maddie Winslow, Young sent a shot off Dobbin's pad and just over the goal line as the net came off its moorings. It was originally ruled no goal but after the referees discussed the play with the goal judge, the call was reversed to make it a 2-0 game.  
  • Mandigo scored her second tally of the stanza at the 13:45 mark to give the Panthers a three-goal cushion. Shanna Hickman found the puck behind the net after an awkward bounce and sent a centering pass to a wide-open Mandigo in front of the net who one-timed a shot into the low right-hand corner.
  • Amherst began to claw back into the game with 3:02 to play in the first period as junior Sara Culhane stole the puck from a defender behind the net and sent a short-handed wrap around shot into the goal. The tally marked the Purple & White's fifth short-handed goal of the season.
  • Assistant captain Caroline Bomstein '16 decreased Amherst's deficit to one at the 6:36 mark in the second stanza. Positioned at the right blueline, Bomstein collected a pass from first-year Jamie McNamara and rifled a low snap shot over the pad of Neuburger.
  • The Purple & White evened the score at 3-3 two minutes later as Katelyn Pantera '19 gathered a pass from Katie Savage '19 in the high slot and sent a wrist shot off the pad of the Panther goalie and into the netting.
  • Amherst took its first lead of the game with 7:01 to play in the second. Picking the pocket of a defender behind the net, Culhane notched her second score of the matchup as her centering pass deflected off the skate of the Middlebury netminder and over the goal line.
  • Janka Hlinka made it a 4-4 contest two minutes later as she positioned herself in front of the net and deflected Audrey Quirks shot past Dobbins.
  • Amherst and Middlebury played to a scoreless third stanza, with the Purple & White holding a 13-4 edge in shots.
  • Reigning NESCAC Player of the Year Maddie Winslow played hero for the Panthers 6:37 into overtime. After an impressive individual effort to get into the offensive zone, Young skated behind the net and sent a centering pass to Winslow who one-timed a shot over the shoulder of the goalkeeper and into the top corner of the net.    


BEOND THE BOX SCORE

  • Amherst has now posted four runner-up finishes to go along with three conference championships (2007, 2008, 2010), and currently stands at 19-9 all-time in NESCAC postseason action.
  • Should Amherst receive an at-large bid, the Purple & White will be making their sixth appearance in the NCAA tournament, and their first since the 2011-2012 season. Amherst, which has two national titles, last clinched the NCAA crown in 2010.