Amherst Earns 3-2 Win Over New England College

AMHERST, MA – The sixth-ranked Amherst College women's ice hockey team used three consecutive goals to earn a 3-2 win over New England College Wednesday evening at Orr Rink. The Lord Jeffs improved to 11-3 (10-0 NESCAC), while the Pilgrims fell to 8-7-2 (6-4-2 ECAC East).

Amherst picked up its first non-conference win of the season, having started 0-3 against teams outside of the NESCAC. Wednesday's loss was the first of 2009 for the Pilgrims, who entered the game 4-0-2 in their last six games.

A scoreless first period featured a 22-6 shot advantage for Amherst, as first-year goaltender Teraysa White was put to work early and often for the Pilgrims. Despite facing just six shots in the opening frame, Amherst sophomore Caroline Hu (Cerritos, CA) made a save on a breakaway after a New England skater intercepted a pass in the neutral zone and carried the puck toward the Lord Jeff net.

The Lord Jeffs came out of the first intermission with 30 seconds of a power play to work with, but the Pilgrim defense continued to stand its ground. Nearing the midway point of the second period, the Amherst defense failed to clear the puck out of its end and New England's Courtney Kerslake was left all alone in front of the net. Kerslake took her time and tried to sneak a shot inside the far post, but she pushed it just wide.

Thirty seconds later, however, the Pilgrims got on the board when sophomore Rachel White scored her first goal of the season. The assist was credited to senior captain Sarah Tracey, whose eighth helper of the season gave her team a 1-0 lead with 9:02 to play in the second period.

Shortly after Amherst was whistled for a penalty with just over six minutes to play in the middle period, the Jeffs sent a second player to the box, giving the Pilgrims 1:34 of a 5-on-3 advantage. New England got a pair of quality shots during the power play, but Amherst killed both penalties and quickly went on the attack.

It took only two minutes for Amherst to tie things up, as senior Tarasai Karega (Detroit, MI) scored her second goal of the season with the assist going to senior tri-captain Lindsey Harrington (Westford, MA). The senior duo worked a nice give-and-go from the Jeffs' defensive end before Karega finally found the back of the net for the 91st point of her career.

Karega would give Amherst the lead for good nearly six minutes later, with her second goal of the night coming with 2:56 remaining in the second period when she received the puck right in front of the net and used a quick catch-and-release to beat the Pilgrim goalie. First-year Emily Vitale (Cheshire, CT) and junior Kate Dennett (Highlands Ranch, CO) picked up the assists.

Harrington—the reigning NESCAC Player of the Week—continued her hot streak by giving Amherst a 3-1 lead on a breakaway goal that proved to be the game winner 2:21 into the third period. Sophomore Julia Koch (Rochester Hills, MI) was credited with the assist for finding Harrington on a long pass.

Amherst seemed to have found its stride by scoring three consecutive goals, but the Pilgrims cut their deficit to one when first-year Allison Roy netted the first goal of her career. Tracey picked up another assist—the 66th of her career—as New England trailed 3-2 with 9:33 to play in regulation.

First-year Chelsea Torrico nearly notched the score at 3-3 when she stormed in for the Pilgrims' second breakaway of the night, but Hu once again came up with the big save to prevent the shorthanded goal and preserve the lead with seven minutes on the clock.

Despite New England picking up significant momentum in the third period, Amherst pulled it together down the stretch and earned the 3-2 victory. Hu made 16 saves for the Jeffs to improve to 4-1 on the season, while Teraysa White stopped 52 shots in an impressive effort.

The Lord Jeffs return to action Friday, Jan. 30, when they resume NESCAC play with a 7 p.m. game at Wesleyan University before traveling to take on Hamilton College Saturday at 4 p.m.