AMHERST, MA – The Amherst College women's ice hockey team will face two-time defending national champion Plattsburgh State Friday, Jan. 16, in the USCHO Game of the Week. Live video and audio feeds will be available for the highly-anticipated matchup, with the puck set to drop at 7 p.m.
The Cardinals and Lord Jeffs have each carried the No. 1 ranking in the USCHO national poll during this season, but they will face off Friday night as the No. 2 and No. 5 teams, respectively.
Plattsburgh is a perfect 5-0 against Amherst and has had great success at Orr Rink, outscoring the Jeffs 15-3 in two meetings. The Cardinals earned a thrilling 3-2 victory on their home ice when these teams met in the 2007 national semifinals, a win that was followed by the program's first NCAA title. In last year's meeting, Amherst was handed a 4-1 loss on the road.
Amherst (8-2-0) and Plattsburgh (8-2-1) each had disappointing returns from winter break, with the Jeffs suffering a 3-0 loss at now-top-ranked Gustavus Adolphus and a 2-1 setback at eighth-ranked Saint Thomas, while the Cardinals fell at fourth-ranked Elmira, 2-1. Both squads have since gotten back to their winning ways, as Amherst picked up a pair of conference wins this past weekend and Plattsburgh avenged its loss to Elmira.
Friday's game will pit the best scoring defense in the NESCAC against the best in the ECAC-West, as Amherst has allowed 1.20 goals per game (fifth best in Division III) and Plattsburgh has surrendered a mere 1.09 (second best in Division III).
Anchoring these two outstanding defensive units is a group of exceptional goaltenders, with the Jeffs featuring a pair of proven net-minders in junior Krystyn Elek and sophomore Caroline Hu. A two-time All-American, Elek is 5-1 this season with a 1.45 GAA and .943 save percentage, while Hu (2-1) has saved 94.9 percent of shots faced with an impressive 1.01 GAA. For Plattsburgh, senior Danielle Beattie boasts the nation's fifth best goals-against average (1.14) and a .935 save percentage.
The USCHO Game of the Week will also feature two of the most well-balanced offenses in the nation. While 14 Amherst players have scored a goal this season and 19 have recorded at least one point (both most in the NESCAC), 21 Plattsburgh skaters have at least one point (most in the ECAC-West). Only one player on either team ranks in the top 70 in the nation for goals per game (Plattsburgh's Stephanie Moberg), and only one player ranks in the top 40 in assists per game (Amherst's Emily Vitale).
While the Jeffs will aim to get the best of the Cardinals for the first time in program history, Plattsburgh will be looking to hand Amherst its first loss at Orr Rink this season. The Jeffs have outscored opponents 21-4 in their five home games and will hope to remain perfect as the Cardinals continue their current eight-game road trip. Plattsburgh has not lost to a NESCAC team since falling to Middlebury in the 2006 NCAA title game.
Amherst was last featured in the USCHO Game of the Week Feb. 16, 2008, when the Lord Jeffs ended in a 1-1 tie with Middlebury.
Amherst vs. Plattsburgh History
2002-03: Plattsburgh 10, Amherst 2 (@ Amherst)
2005-06: Plattsburgh 4, Amherst 2 (@ Plattsburgh)
2006-07: Plattsburgh 5, Amherst 1 (@ Amherst)
2006-07: Plattsburgh 3, Amherst 2 (NCAA Semifinal @ Plattsburgh)
2007-08: Plattsburgh 4, Amherst 1 (@ Plattsburgh)