Plaman, Stellar Special Teams Play Pushes No.3 Amherst Past No.6 Williams, 5-2

Plaman, Stellar Special Teams Play Pushes No.3 Amherst Past No.6 Williams, 5-2

AMHERST, Mass. – Bailey Plaman '18 and the Mammoths' special teams units shone in the NESCAC Quarterfinals, as the No. 3 seed Amherst College women's ice hockey team staved off a third period comeback effort to defeat archrival and sixth-seeded Williams College, 5-2 Saturday afternoon at Orr Rink.

With the victory, Amherst improves to 15-6-3 on the season and advances to the NESCAC Semifinals, while Williams closes out 2017-18 with a 10-8-7 overall ledger. Amherst returns to action on Saturday, March 3 when they battle No. 2 seed Connecticut College in a Semifinal matchup at Kenyon Arena on the campus of top-seed Middlebury College. 

Capitalizing on an Ephs holding penalty late in the first period, Jocelyn Hunyadi '19 netted her sixth score of the winter to give the Mammoths a 1-0 lead with two minutes on the clock. Setting up in the low slot, Hunyadi tipped Mia DelRosso's '21 slapper from the point inside the right post. 

Coming up with a big save to keep Williams within one at the 15:40 mark, Christina Cleroux slid across the crease just in time to get her pad on a Emma Flynn '21 one-timer on the far post after a stick-to-stick pass across the zone.

Tallying Amherst's second power play score of the contest, senior captain Emma Griese found nylon 5:30 into the second stanza to double the Mammoths' advantage to 2-0. Crashing the net after a Hunyadi shot on target, Griese beat her defender in a scrum in front of the net and poked the puck over the goal line. 

Annie Rush mad a bid to get the Ephs on the board with 7:09 on the clock as she deked around a defender in the slot to earn an uncontested opportunity, however Plaman stood strong in between the pipes to collect an impressive kick save. 

Extending the home team's lead to 3-0 with 5:13 remaining in the period, Rose Mroczka '21 powered past the defense on a 2-v-3 rush sent Hunyadi's rebound off the goalie's shoulder and into the net. 

Cutting their deficit to two, Rush beat the Amherst netminder 17 seconds after an Eph timeout to make it a 3-1 game at the 4:56 mark. Cutting back in the high slot, Rush ripped a wrister from the top of the right circle into the bottom left corner.

Starting off the third period strong, Anne Malloy '20 earned a breakaway for the Mammoths 3:20 into the stanza as she intercepted a pass at her own blue line and raced down the ice. Deking to her forehand, Cleroux was not fooled by the move as she smothered Malloy's wrist shot to make the stop.

Getting the Ephs back within striking distance, Gabby Montembeault made it 3-2 with 15:58 remaining in regulation as she picked up a rebound, skated behind the net and roofed a backhander over the glove of the Amherst keeper.

Williams controlled the pace of play in the final five minutes of action, however they were unable to net the equalizer before Alex Toupal '18 and Katelyn Pantera '19 each notched an empty net goal in the final minute to lift Amherst to the 5-2 win. 

GAME NOTES

  • In between the pipes, Plaman (10-5-4) racked up 39 saves for Amherst in the winning effort, while Cleroux (4-3-5) made 14 stops for Williams in the loss.
  • The Ephs owned a 41-19 edge in shot differential behind an 18-5 advantage in the final period.
  • The Mammoths were stellar on the power play, finishing 2-for-3, while Williams went 0-for-2 up a skater.