AMHERST, Mass. – A thrilling back-and-forth battle ended with the Mammoths in the win column as a two-goal rally in the final seven minutes of action headlined by first-year Jillian Mazzocca's third goal of the winter pushed the Amherst College women's hockey team past Hamilton College, 4-3 Saturday afternoon at Orr Rink.
With the weekend series split, both Amherst and Hamilton open the 2019-2020 season with a 1-1-0 overall ledger and a 1-1-0 mark in conference play. Amherst next hits the ice on Friday, November 22 when they travel to No. 10 Middlebury College for a 7:00PM conference bout.
Opening scoring at the 13:05 mark in the first period, Abby Kuhns gave the visitors an early 1-0 edge on an unassisted strike. A face off win in Mammoths' territory set up the scoring play, as the puck was poked back to Kuhns at the left point who sent a snipe a foot off the ice under the keeper's blocker.
Pulling the sides back into a deadlock 8:41 into the second stanza, Mazzocca potted her second tally in as many games with an assist from Kenzie MacDonald '22. Looking to get the puck deep, a fortuitous bounce off the foot of a defender gave Mazzocca a 1-v-1 in the offensive end before she sent a wrister from the high slot into the lower left corner.
A wild third period saw big momentum swings, physical play and a combined five goals, but it was the Mammoths' who came out on top, 4-3 at the final buzzer.
Taking their first lead of the contest 6:31 into the period, Kaitlin Hoang '21 notched her first goal of the winter off a perfectly executed give-and-go odd-woman rush. Mia DelRosso '21 got the play going, hitting Carley Daly '23 in the neutral zone to give Amherst the advantage before three passes between Daly and Hoang gave the junior a wide-open net off a redirect.
Responding less than three minutes later, Mya Berretta made it a 2-2 game as she picked off a pass in the slot, grabbed her own rebound and beat the keeper who was pinned to the ice in a pile up after the initial shot.
Grabbing the lead once again 30 seconds later, Nancy Loh recorded a power play score with helpers from Kuhns and Michaela Giuttari. Working the puck around the zone and to the point, Loh deflected Kuhns' blast into the nylon.
Undeterred, the Mammoths showed a midseason tenacity down the stretch, logging back-to-back goals in the final 6:56 to earn the victory.
Sophomore Angelina Wiater kickstarted the thrilling comeback at the 13:04 mark, as she set up on the far left post and cleaned up Hoang's rebound to push the score to 3-3.
Finding the back of the net once again with 2:26 remaining in regulation, Mazzocca's third career goal stood as a game-winner as she came off the right boards and sniped a shot five-hole to play hero for the home team.
Caitlin Walker '22 (1-1-0) picked up her first win of the season in between the pipes for Amherst, registering 30 saves, while Gab Venne (1-1-0) also picked up 30 stops in the loss for the visitors.
A cleanly played physical matchup, only three penalties were called between the sides, with the Mammoths' going 0-for-2 on the power play and owning a 34-33 edge in shots on goal, and Hamilton finishing a perfect 1-for-1 up a skater.