AMHERST, Mass. – Mammoths' first-years Kate Pohl and Jillian Mazzocca started off their collegiate careers in style, with the duo each finding the back of the net in the first 22 minutes of action to get the home team out to an early lead, however a strong second half by the Continentals spoiled opening night at Orr Rink as the Amherst College women's hockey team was edged by Hamilton College, 3-2 Friday evening.
Hitting nylon on the first shot of her career donning the Purple & White, Pohl opened scoring 10:56 into the first period with assists from Stephanie Nomicos '22 and Emma Flynn '21. Controlling the puck on the right side following a Hamilton roughing penalty, Flynn hit Nomicos at the point who sent a slapper towards frame. Wrestling for positioning in front of the net, Pohl won the battle with her defender as she deflected the puck past the keeper and into the top left corner.
Doubling the Mammoths' advantage 1:10 into the second stanza, Mazzocca joined Pohl on the scoresheet off a 3-v-3 rush. Racing towards a 50-50 puck in Hamilton territory, E. Flynn won the footrace to the top of the circle and dropped her shoulder to gain the angle before pushing the puck back to Mazzocca in the slot who was trailing the play. One-timing a shot from point-blank range, Mazzocca beat the Continentals netminder blocker-side to pick up her first career score.
Getting on the board with 2:04 remaining before the second intermission, Jess Haviland cut the Hamilton deficit in half with a helper from Missy Segall. Holding momentum from a face off win 30 seconds prior, Segall's initial attempt after curling out of the right corner was met with a pad stop, however Haviland was there to clean up the rebound and set the score at 2-1.
Netting the equalizer for Hamilton while down a skater with 8:41 to go in regulation, Maddie Hong deadlocked the sides at 2-2 as she blocked a shot from the point, skated the length of the ice and deked to her backhand to sneak one past the Amherst keeper.
What stood as the decisive goal came with 5:24 on the clock, as Maddie Hong gave the Continentals their first lead of the night with assists from Nancy Loh and Mya Berretta. Crashing the net hard after a shot and collision by Loh put the Mammoths' keeper on the ice and a defender in the net, Hong poked the puck over the line to lift Hamilton to the 3-2 win.
With a Continental in the penalty box and time winding down, Amherst called their keeper to the bench to gain a two-skater advantage with 50 seconds to go, but the Mammoths were unable to force overtime in their first game of the 2019-2020 season before the final buzzer.
In between the pipes, Caitlin Walker '22 (0-1-0) racked up 28 stops for Amherst in the losing effort, while Gab Venne (1-0-0) earned the win for Hamilton behind 23 saves.
The Continentals held the advantage in shots on target, 31-25, and went 0-for-6 on the power play, while the Mammoths finished the night 1-for-4 up a skater.