AMHERST, MA – The top-seeded Amherst College women's hockey team opened up the 2010 NESCAC Championship this afternoon against No. 8 seed Colby College at Orr Rink. The Lord Jeffs avenged their only conference loss of the season in the quarterfinal round game, earning the right to host next weekend's semifinals and final with a record-setting 10-1 win over the Mules.
With the result, Amherst will host the lowest remaining seed after the conclusion of this afternoon's other three quarterfinal games. Colby's season comes to an end with the loss, finishing the year with a 3-17-5 (1-12-3 NESCAC) record.
Amherst had the first two scoring chances of the game, coming from leading goal-scorer Courtney Hanlon (Fullerton, CA) and Randi Zukas (Glen Head, NY). Six and half minutes into the first period, Hanlon broke in alone from the blue line, and after slowing to let a Mule defender fly by, lifted a wrist shot that was saved by Colby goaltender Loni Pisani (Kanata, Ontario). With just under 11 minutes remaining, a Zukas slap shot from the point just seconds into Amherst's first power play of the game hit the crossbar.
Seconds after the Colby power play expired, Amherst senior tri-captain Kate Dennett (Highlands Ranch, CO) made her way through the Colby defense and pulled a snap shot just wide of Pisani's left post. With 6:55 remaining in the first period, Amherst went on the power play once again. Seven seconds into the 5-on-4, Geneva Lloyd (Calgary, Alberta) scored on a slap shot from the right point off an assist from Zukas and Hanlon.
At the end of the first period, Amherst held just a 1-0 lead on the scoreboard but had an 18-2 edge in shots on goal. Colby started the second period on the power play, but shortly after Amherst killed off the penalty senior Michelle McGann (New Berlin, WI) scored her eighth goal of the season for the eventual game-winner on a redirection effort in front of Pisani. The assists on Amherst's second goal went to Josie Fisher (Norwich, VT) and Emily Vitale (Cheshire, CT).
Amherst extended its lead to 3-0 as Stephanie Clegg (Woburn, MA) finished off a goal on assists from Hanlon and Dennett. The score was Clegg's eighth of the season, and came at the 7:08 mark of the second period. Minutes later, the Lord Jeff advantage grew to 4-0 as Fisher broke in all alone on Pisani. Fisher went in one-on-one with Pisani without another skater even past the blue line, and put a few quick moves on the Mule goaltender before sliding a shot five-hole for the score. Less than two minutes later, Hanlon lifted a rebound into the top of Pisani's net to put Amherst on top, 5-0. Dennett grabbed one of the assists on the score, which marked her 100th career point for the Lord Jeffs.
Following Hanlon's score, Colby called a timeout and head coach David Vendetti rallied the Mules. Just 19 seconds after play re-started, Colby's Stephanie Scarpato grabbed one back from Amherst and ended goalie Caroline Hu's (Cerritos, CA) bid for a shutout. Amherst refused to let the Mules back into the game and responded with its sixth goal on a great redirection by Ellen Swiontkowski (Minnetonka, MN) just half a minute later.
With 5:35 remaining in the second, Vitale scored Amherst's sixth goal of the period, extending the Lord Jeff advantage to 7-1. Vitale's score came from a hard angle after she had fallen to the ice and Pisani was caught off her line. In the final two and a half minutes of the stanza, Amherst added another two scores. Amherst's seventh and eighth goals of the period came from Braidie Campbell (Surrey, BC) and rookie Megan Doyen (Ortonville, MI) and sent the Jeffs into the second intermission leading 9-1.
The eight-goal second period broke the previous NESCAC Women's Hockey Championship record for most goals in a period by three scores, and with one period to play Amherst had already tied the record for most goals in a tournament game. With 18:31 remaining in the third, Amherst took a 10-1 lead on another score by Campbell off assists by Fisher and Kirsten Dier (Appleton, WI). With Campbell's second goal of the day, Amherst had broken every single-game tournament scoring mark in conference history.
The game finished with a final score of 10-1, as Amherst punched its ticket for next Saturday's semifinals. Hu finished the night with 10 saves before giving way to Sinead Murphy (Rochester, MN), who made three stops in the third period. Pisani made 30 saves in the loss.
Dennett became only the fifth player in program history to record 100 points, as she now has 40 goals and 60 assists for the Lord Jeffs.