PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. – The Mammoths outscored the home team 3-2 across the final two periods to battle back from an early 3-0 deficit, however a hot start by the Cardinals proved too much to overcome as the Amherst College women's hockey team fell to No. 3/2 Plattsburgh State, 5-3 Saturday afternoon at Ronald B. Stafford Ice Arena.
With the loss, Amherst falls to 9-9-2 on the season, while Plattsburgh improves to 18-2-0 overall. Amherst returns to the ice on Friday, Feb. 8 when they travel to Hamilton College for a 7 p.m. conference battle.
Getting on the board 4:47 into the opening period, Kaitlin Drew-Mead gave the Cardinals an early edge with an assist from Taylor Whitney. Poking the puck away from an Amherst defender in the neutral zone, Whitney forced a 2-v-1 before dishing a pass to Drew-Mead in front who redirected the puck into the bottom right corner.
Doubling the home team's lead 15 seconds later, Drew-Mead netted her second goal of the day following a turnover on an attempted breakout by Amherst. Intercepting the puck on the left boards, Mackenzie Millen sent an assist to Drew-Mead at the right hash who rifled a wrister over the blocker of the Mammoths' keeper.
Holding the Mammoths' deficit at 2-0, Caitlin Walker '22 came up with a clutch stop on a breakaway by Millen midway through the stanza, getting her pad on the shot as Millen deked to her forehand.
Potting her third goal contest with 2:34 before intermission, Drew-Mead needed just 17:26 to register a hat trick and give the Cardinals a 3-0 cushion. Racing into the zone on a 2-v-2, Drew-Mead powered a wrist shot from the high slot off the shoulder of the keeper and over the goal line. Sierra Benjamin was credited with the assist on the play.
Breaking through 1:40 into the second stanza, Stephanie Nomicos '22 tallied her first collegiate goal to make it a 3-1 game. Corralling a pass from Elizabeth Holubiak '22 at the right point, Nomicos's wrist shot was deflected by a Cardinals' defender inside the left post.
Abby Brush gave Plattsburgh a 4-1 lead heading into the final 20 minutes of regulation as she put away Hanna Rose's rebound at the 14:45 mark.
Pulling the Mammoths within two with 11:52 on the clock, Jamie McNamara '19 won the race to a loose puck at mid-ice to earn a breakaway before sniping a wrister over the glove of Kassi Abbott.
Finding the back of the net once again 1:43 later, Katelyn Pantera '19 made it a one-goal game behind her sixth score of the season. Stealing the puck from a Plattsburgh defender at the offensive blue line, Pantera chipped a shot past the keeper as she attempted a poke check.
Regaining a two-goal lead with 3:13 remaining, Nicole Unsworth logged the final dagger for the Cardinals, sending a backhander over the goal line after a shot from the point redirected to her on the left post.
In between the pipes, Walker (6-5-2) recorded 35 saves for Amherst in the losing effort, while Abbott (18-2-0) made 20 stops for Plattsburgh in the win.
The Cardinals owned a 40-23 advantage in shots on frame. Neither side had a power play opportunity in the matchup.