MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – Tarasai Karega (Detroit, MI) scored 4:34 into overtime to lift Amherst to a 3-2 overtime win over Bowdoin in the NESCAC semifinals at Middlebury. Karega's shot from the slot was saved by the glove of Bowdoin's Emileigh Mercer, however the puck fell to the feet of Karega, who quickly found the back of the net for the game-winner. The Jeffs will make their first-ever championship game appearance against Middlebury, a 7-2 winner over Hamilton, in the title game on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. The Polar Bears end their season at 17-7-2.
Amherst wasted little time as they jumped on the board just 18 seconds into the contest. Michelle McGann(New Berlin, WI) slid the puck to Kate Dennett (Highland Ranch, CO), who walked in all alone from the goal line before snapping a quick shot to the back of the net.
The Polar Bears tied the game at the 12:06 mark of the second period with a power play goal. Katie Forney made a quick pass to Julia King on the right side, who one-timed a shot into the back of the net. Amherst had a chance to regain the lead at the 18-minute mark, but Molly Malloy's (Stamford, CT) shot on a breakaway was cleared off the goal line by Bowdoin's Kat Popoff after a save by Mercer. The Jeffs threatened again with 45 seconds left as McGann's shot hit the left post.
Bowdoin took its first lead of the game just 53 seconds into the third period, on the power play. Maria Nicolais scored with a backhanded flip over the shoulder of Krystyn Elek (Summerville, SC) on a breakaway. Amherst tied the game with a five-on-three power play goal at 4:49 when Karega scored on a rebound following a save by Mercer on Dennett. Bowdoin went on a power play with 34 seconds left in regulation, but could not score the game-winner, forcing the game into overtime.
Elek made 30 saves between the pipes to earn the win for Amherst, while Mercer made 23 for Bowdoin. The win was the first ever for Amherst over Bowdoin, who entered the game with a 22-0-1 record against the Jeffs.