Amherst Cruises to 5-0 Win at Wesleyan

MIDDLETOWN, CT – Led by two goals from sophomore forward Courtney Hanlon (Fullerton, CA) and a suffocating defense that limited Wesleyan to just seven shots on goal, the Amherst College women's ice hockey team cruised to a 5-0 win over Wesleyan University Friday night. Amherst improved to 11-0-0 in NESCAC play this season and won its 11th straight over Wesleyan, which had won 21 of the first 27 meetings between the two teams, a number of which came prior to Amherst becoming a varsity team.

Hanlon opened and closed the scoring for the visitors. Her first goal came just over five minutes into the game as she received a pass in the right slot and fired it past senior goaltender Emily Avener. Hanlon also scored on a wrister with 2:12 left in the game to raise her team-leading goal total to eight.

Senior forward Tarasai Karega (Detroit, MI) put the Lord Jeffs ahead 2-0 with a one-timer 4:36 into the second period, and sophomore defender Randi Zukas (Glen Head, NY) extended Amherst's advantage to three with 29 seconds left in the second. Zukas' shot in front of the net slid past the glove of Avener, normally a forward but forced to start in place of injured senior goalie Rachel Stemerman. Amherst ran its lead to 4-0 when sophomore forward Brittney Evans (Edina, MN) scored 8:45 into the third frame.

Despite nine combined power-play opportunities, neither team was able to find the back of the net on the man-advantage. Amherst killed off four penalties and has allowed its opponents to score on just eight of 72 power plays this season, while Wesleyan has lit the lamp on only four of 83 man-up situations.

Junior Krystyn Elek (Summerville, SC) made six saves in the first two frames for the visitors, while first-year Sinead Murphy (Rochester, MN) needed only one in the third stanza to preserve the shutout. Avener had 46 stops in the Wesleyan net in her first career start.

With the win, Amherst, ranked sixth nationally in Division III, improved to 36-0-7 in its last 43 games against NESCAC teams, with its last loss coming at Middlebury on Dec. 2, 2006 by a 1-0 score. Amherst has clinched a spot in the NESCAC Championship for the eighth consecutive season.

Both teams will be back in action on Saturday, as Amherst travels to Hamilton College while Wesleyan will host Connecticut College. Hamilton fell at home to Connecticut on Friday, 4-2. Wesleyan won at Connecticut 3-2 on Jan. 9 for its first NESCAC win of the year, while Amherst earned a 6-2 home win over Hamilton on the same day.