AMHERST, MA – The Amherst College men's hockey team will play in its first semifinal game since the 2000-01 season as it heads to Brunswick, ME to face top-seeded Bowdoin College. This marks the first time that Bowdoin will host the NESCAC Tournament in the school's history.
Amherst is coming off a solid 2-0 road win against Wesleyan University in the opening round of the NESCAC Tournament. Sophomore goaltender A.J. Scola was vital to the team's effort, turning away all 33 shots that he faced en route to being named NESCAC Player of the Week. Contributing to the effort were forwards Joel Covelli (Carlisle, ON) and Mike McIntosh (Soldotna, AK), both of whom contributed a goal in the win.
Amherst faces a tough challenge in the Polar Bears, who have beaten Amherst in their last three playoff meetings, but the Jeffs seem to have a different mindset as they prepare for this year's postseason meeting. With the momentum of a road victory under its belt, Amherst looks to capitalize on its position as the underdog and catch the top-seeded Polar Bears off guard.
On the women's side, third-seeded Amherst survived the quarterfinal round by defeating archrival Williams College in overtime for the second time in three weeks. The Ephs took a 2-1 advantage into the final frame, but Lindsey Harrington (Westford, MA) tied the game at 2-2 midway through the period, which is where the teams stood after 60 minutes of action. It took Kate Dennett (Highlands Ranch, CO) less than five minutes to become the hero of the day, as the first-year netted the game-winning goal to send Amherst into the next round.
Amherst has earned a trip to the semifinals for the first time in program history, entering the weekend as one of the hottest teams in the league, going 13-1-3 sine the start of 2007. The Jeffs face Bowdoin in the semifinals, a team that has posted a 22-0-1 record against Amherst, with the lone tie coming at Bowdoin Jan. 19 of this year. Amherst held a 3-0 lead over the Polar Bears late in the third period, but was unable to hold off a late Bowdoin surge.
The Amherst men will get underway Saturday at 1 p.m. in Brunswick, with the women taking the ice for a 4 p.m. game at Middlebury College.