Top-Ranked Jeffs Blast Hamilton 5-0 at Home

AMHERST, MA – The top-ranked Amherst College women's hockey team played host to visiting NESCAC foe Hamilton College this evening at Orr Rink in the first of two scheduled meetings this weekend. Amherst scored three goals in the second period to power a 5-0 win over the Continentals. Amherst improved to 11-1-3 (7-0-2 NESCAC) with the win, while Hamilton falls to 5-7-2 (2-5-2).

After Amherst dominated the run of play for the first seven minutes, the Continentals seemed to get into the game with a pair of shots on Amherst goaltender Caroline Hu's (Cerritos, CA) net. Moments later, Hamilton's Christie Sharlow was sent to the penalty box with 10:52 remaining in the first period. As the ensuing power play was running out, Emily Vitale (Cheshire, CT) was stoned by Hamilton backstop Rebecca Hazlett from point-blank.

Late in the first period, Hamilton went on the power play and nearly scored the first goal of the game. Continental winger Katie Zimmerman beat an Amherst defender coming down the right wing, but after beating Hu with a shot, the puck cruised through the crease and wide of the post. In the second minute of the penalty kill, a Hamilton player was sent into box to set up a four-on-four situation.

With the extra room on the ice cleared by the two players in the penalty box, Amherst's Courtney Hanlon (Fullerton, CA) broke the scoreless deadlock. After Kate Dennett (Highlands Ranch, CO) won a face-off, Randi Zukas (Glen Head, NY) passed the puck over to Hanlon on the left point. Hanlon used a great move to get past a Hamilton defender rushing at her, and lifted a hard wrist shot past Hazlett and off the underside of the crossbar for the score.

Just 1:30 into the second period, Amherst took a 2-0 lead on a hard slap shot from the point by sophomore defender Stephanie Clegg (Woburn, MA). On assists from Vitale and Ellen Swiontkowski (Minnetonka, MN), Clegg blasted a slapper over Hazlett's glove side shoulder. With 3:40 left to play in the second, Hanlon took a pass from Michelle McGann (New Berlin, WI) to break in one-on-one with Hazlett. Hanlon shifted the puck to her backhand and lifted it top shelf before Hazlett could recover.

Just 1:10 later, Amherst junior Brittany Evans (Edina, MN) put home the rebound of a Clegg shot from the point. With four minutes to play in the second period, it looked as if Hamilton would head into the second intermission trailing just 2-0, but with a flurry of late period action, Amherst blew the game open to take a 4-0 lead into the second break.

With just under five minutes remaining in the game, Josie Fisher (Norwich, CT) scored a nice goal to extend the Amherst lead to 5-0. Assists on Fisher's tally went to Randi Zukas (Glen Head, NY) and Alyssa Chwick (Purchase, NY). The goal proved to be the final score of the night.

At the end of the game, Amherst's NESCAC unbeaten streak was extended to 51 games (43-0-8), while Hu posted another shutout to improve to 6-1-1. Hu made 21 saves for the shutout win, while Hazlett made 45 saves in net for Hamilton in the losing effort. The two teams will return to Orr Rink tomorrow afternoon at 3 p.m. for a re-match.