AMHERST, MA – In a battle between national women's hockey powerhouses, second-ranked Amherst College used three power play goals to earn a 5-3 win over fourth-ranked Rochester Institute of Technology Saturday afternoon at Orr Rink. The Lord Jeffs improve to 5-0-2, while the Tigers' first loss of the season drops them to 5-1-2.
Amherst went 0-for-5 on the power play in Friday's 1-1 tie with RIT and didn't get on the scoreboard until the final moments of regulation, but the Lord Jeffs needed only one minute and 40 seconds to jump out to a 1-0 lead in Saturday's rematch. Amherst would add two goals in each of the final two periods, while the Tigers scored once in the second frame and twice in the third.
Katie Stack recorded a hat trick for the Tigers, giving her four goals for the weekend and a team-high 11 on the year. Five players scored for Amherst.
The Jeffs entered Saturday's game having never defeated the Tigers in regular season play (0-8-1), with their lone win in the series coming in the 2007 NCAA Championship opening round. Amherst also snapped the three-game unbeaten streak RIT had been riding in the series.
After making 38 saves in Friday's game, Carley King (3-1-1) made 30 stops for the Tigers on Saturday. Caroline Hu (Cerritos, CA) made 16 saves for Amherst to improve to 4-0-0 on the year.
The Tigers were called for tripping 1:09 into the opening period and it took only 31 seconds for Amherst to capitalize. After an initial shot was knocked away by RIT's King, sophomore Stephanie Clegg (Woburn, MA) was there to put home the rebound. Clegg's first goal of the season came just 1:40 into the contest, marking the quickest Amherst had found the back of the net in any game this season. Tri-captains Kate Dennett '10 (Highlands Ranch, CO) and Courtney Hanlon '11 (Fullerton, CA) were credited with assists.
A flurry of action 14 minutes into the opening period saw both teams come up with near misses. The puck made its way to Amherst first-year Geneva Lloyd (Calgary, Alberta) on a face-off in RIT's defensive end, but her slapshot rattled off the post. The Tigers immediately countered by finding Stack streaking up the right wing. Stack carried the puck with a defender on her heels and managed to put a shot on goal, but Hu came up with the save for Amherst.
The Jeffs pushed right back when Dennett and Randi Zukas (Glen Head, NY) nearly connected for another goal, but King was there to make the stop. Amherst closed out the first period on a power play when RIT was called for checking with 1:57 showing on the clock, but the Tigers' penalty kill unit held its ground to keep it a 1-0 game.
RIT tied things up 3:57 into the second period on a goal from Stack, with assists going to Danielle Read and Sarah Dagg. Stack's equalizer came with only 17 seconds remaining on the power play. Dagg, who entered the weekend leading all of Division III in assists per game (2.00), recorded her 13th helper of the year.
Amherst needed only three minutes and 16 seconds to regain the lead thanks to Dennett's fourth goal of the season. Just eight seconds into a 5-on-4, the Lord Jeffs won a face-off in RIT's end and found Lloyd alone at the point. Lloyd delivered the puck into traffic and Dennett was there for the redirection, handing the hosts a 2-1 lead.
The Tigers nearly took advantage of poor clearing by the Jeffs twice in the second period, only to be denied by Hu each time. Shireen Irani intercepted a pass deep in Amherst's end and was left all alone, but her first attempt was knocked to the side by Hu. Irani collected her own rebound and tried to beat Hu once again, but her shot hit the side of the net. Another clearing miscue three minutes later led to Stack intercepting a pass and placing a low shot on target, but Hu made a nice kick save to preserve the 2-1 lead.
Amherst's third power play goal of the afternoon came with only 47 seconds remaining in the second period when senior tri-captain Kirsten Dier (Appleton, WI) put home a rebound. Sophomore Emily Vitale (Cheshire, CT) picked up her fourth assist of the season to help the Jeffs carry a 3-1 lead into the second intermission.
First-years Kim Schlattman and Kayla Ross assisted Stack in the opening two minutes of the final period to chip away at Amherst's lead, but Braidie Campbell (Surrey, BC) returned it to a two-goal advantage with 13:03 remaining in regulation. Campbell's first goal of the season was assisted by Josie Fisher (Norwich, VT) and Ellen Swiontkowski (Minnetonka, MN).
It became a 5-2 advantage with only 4:33 to play when Vitale snuck a shot past King. Vitale didn't have a great angle on the net and didn't put much on her shot, but King was screened on the play. RIT called a timeout when it went on the power play with 3:05 remaining, and it took only 17 seconds to set up Stack for her third goal of the game. Stack let loose a knee-high slapshot from just ahead of the blue to beat Hu stick-side to make it 5-3, but that would be the final goal of the game for either team.
The Lord Jeffs will return to action Sunday, Jan. 3 when they take on top-ranked Plattsburgh State in day one of the Panther/Cardinal Classic at Middlebury College. The Tigers will host Adrian next weekend in a two-game non-conference series.