AMHERST, MA – The top-ranked Amherst College women's hockey team played host to NESCAC rival Trinity College this evening in the Lord Jeffs' 2009-10 home opener. Playing in front of the program's first National Championship banner for the first time ever, Amherst ran up against Trinity's Isabel Iwachiw, who turned away 40 shots en route to a 0-0 overtime tie. The result moves Amherst to 3-0-1 (2-0-1 NESCAC), while Trinity sits at 3-0-2 (1-0-2). The two teams will return to Orr Rink tomorrow for a rematch at 3 p.m.
During a scoreless first period, Amherst out-shot Trinity 18-10 but saw the Bantams block four shots and Iwachiw make nine saves. The Lord Jeffs started sophomore netminder Sinead Murphy (Rochester, MN), who stopped each of the six Trinity shots that found the frame to keep the Bantams off the board.
Just over three minutes into the second period, Amherst's Emily Vitale (Cheshire, CT) nearly scored after sophomore classmate Stephanie Clegg (Woburn, MA) stole the puck coming out of the defensive zone, but her bid was turned away by Iwachiw once again. Two minutes later, Murphy returned the favor as she made a point-blank save on a shot by Trinity's Jill Roloff.
Near the midpoint of the second period, Iwachiw made a pair of saves in rapid succession on one side of the crease, and still slid across the face of the net to turn away another pair of shots on the other post. At the second intermission, Murphy had made 12 saves for Amherst, while Iwachiw was superb with 25 stops for the Bantams.
With just over 13 minutes to play in the third period, Murphy made an amazing save on Trinity's Lindsey Weiner. After a saucer pass form the right slot, Weiner hit a one-timer on the puck as it landed only to see Murphy move to her right and push the shot wide of the post with her stick.
In the final minute of regulation, Roloff broke from deep in the Bantam's zone to take control of a cleared puck at the red line and skate in alone on Murphy. The Lord Jeff backstop made a crucial save to keep Roloff from being the hero, and ultimately force overtime.
In the extra frame Amherst pushed forward but was unable to find a game winner, while the Bantam defense played very well and kept clearing the zone. After 65 minutes of action, the two teams settled to a scoreless tie. In the end, Murphy made 16 saves, while Iwachiw made 40 stops in the Trinity net.
After the game, Amherst head coach Jim Plumer tipped his hat to Iwachiw and said, "She was fabulous tonight. You have to hand it to Trinity, they played a great game, and we have to be ready to take everyone's best shot each game." Plumer also added that he was very pleased with the performance by Murphy in net for Amherst.
Amherst is now unbeaten in its past 45 regular season NESCAC games (37-0-8).