AMHERST, MA – The second-ranked Amherst College women's ice hockey team overcame a 2-0 deficit by scoring three times during the second period of a 3-2 win over Bowdoin College Friday night at Orr Rink. The Lord Jeffs (14-2-4, 9-1-3 NESCAC) remained tied with Middlebury College atop the conference standings, while the Polar Bears fell to 9-8-2 (6-4-1 NESCAC).
The Jeffs held a 40-14 advantage in shots, as Bowdoin first-year goaltender Kayla Lessard made 37 saves to move to 6-5-2 on the season, while sophomore Sinead Murphy (Rochester, MN) made 12 for Amherst to improve to 6-1-3.
Since losing the first 22 meetings in the all-time series with Bowdoin, Amherst is unbeaten in its past eight games against the Polar Bears (7-0-1). Bowdoin had its two-game win streak snapped, during which the Polar Bears had out-scored their opponents by a combined 22-0. Bowdoin entered the game leading the NESCAC in scoring offense (4.11 gpg), while the Jeffs boasted Division III's best scoring defense (1.16 gpg).
Amherst held a 10-7 edge in shots in the opening period, but sophomore Dominique Lozzi had the one that mattered most when she turned a heads-up play from first-year Kayte Holtz into the game's first goal. During a Bowdoin line change, Holtz stole the puck from an Amherst skater behind the net and quickly found Lozzi, whose shot from the point beat Murphy stick-side. Holtz entered the game leading the NESCAC in freshman scoring with 11 goals and 10 assists for a 1.17 points-per-game average.
Senior tri-captain Maria Nicolais nearly made it 2-0 less than two minutes later when she beat an Amherst defender and had a 1-on-1 situation with Murphy. Nicolais switched to her backhand at the last moment and tried to beat the Amherst goalie glove-side, but the puck was pushed just wide. The Jeffs had a power play opportunity in the 10th minute and the Polar Bears had one in the 17th, but neither team could convert.
The second period was a much different story, as Amherst held a 22-3 edge in shots and entered the final period with significant momentum. Before the Jeffs could begin their comeback, however, Lozzi picked up an assist when she found sophomore Shelagh Merrill on the left circle. Merrill beat Murphy with a wrist shot for her team-leading 12th goal of the season, giving the visitors a 2-0 lead 3:02 into the period.
Bowdoin continued to pressure when first-year Kim Tess-Wanat skated in for a breakaway, but Murphy picked up a big save. The rest of the period belonged to the Jeffs, who scored three goals in a span of eight minutes. Senior Michelle McGann (New Berlin, WI) got things going when she camped out on the post and put home a one-timer after junior Braidie Campbell (Surrey, BC) slid a perfect pass across the crease, as Amherst made it a 2-1 game with 9:51 to play in the second.
First-year Geneva Lloyd (Calgary, Alberta) tied things up five minutes later when she intercepted a pass, turned and fired a shot past Lessard, who got a piece of the puck but couldn't make the save. The Jeffs would convert a power play three minutes later when the puck bounced out to senior tri-captain Kirsten Dier (Appleton, WI), who immediately put a shot on net and beat Lessard for the go-ahead goal.
Amherst had another pair of power play opportunities and Bowdoin pulled its goalie with 1:09 remaining in regulation, but neither team would score again. The Polar Bears' best chance to tie the game came with 22 seconds on the clock when sophomore Alexandra Fahey ripped a shot from the right circle, but Murphy came up with another huge save. The Jeffs held an 8-4 advantage in shots in the final period.
Saturday's rematch between Amherst and Bowdoin is set to begin at 3 p.m. A live webcast will be available free of charge courtesy of JeffCast.