WILLIAMSTOWN, MA -- The NESCAC-leading Amherst College women's hockey team (17-2-4) wasted little time getting ahead at the Lansing Chapman Rink this afternoon, and unlike last night, they made sure that the Ephs of Williams College (10-10-2) would be unable to claw back into contention, winning 8-0. The shutout defeat bumps Williams down to 7-6-1 in the conference, just a game over 5th-place Bowdoin, and marks the most goals Williams has allowed to an opponent all season. Having already secured the top seed in the NESCAC Championship, Amherst climbed to 12-1-3 in conference play.
Surprisingly, the Jeffs actually accumulated four fewer shots than they did the previous contest, registering 38 attempts over three periods to the Ephs' 20. The Eph defense was most successful in the first period, limiting the Jeffs to just 11 shots and two scores, both of which were the result of unfavorable bounces on loose puck scrums in front of the net. Junior forward Cianna Wyshnytzky (Hawthorwn Woods, IL) was credited with the first of the rebound goals at 3:23, with the other coming from senior forward Molly Malloy (Stamford, CT).
The middle frame was not as evenly contested, as evidenced by the three Amherst scores and the 12-5 shot differential. Although the Ephs were moving the puck well through the neutral zone, they could not penetrate the stingy blue line front of the Lord Jeff defense. Just when the Eph attack gained some momentum off a miraculous save by senior goaltender Sara Plunkett on a 2-on-0 breakaway, the Jeffs squashed this confidence via a fall-down goal by sophomore Emily Vitale (Cheshire, CT), who pounced on the big rebound created by a low, hard slap shot by senior tri-captain Kirsten Dier (Appleton, WI).
Shortly after, the deadly Amherst power play was given the opportunity to do further damage, and a bad bounce off another big rebound did just that. Sophomore Stephanie Clegg (Woburn, MA) was marked down for the score, although it appeared to be an Eph leg that deflected the puck past Plunkett. The Jeffs drove the dagger deeper in the final 30 seconds with a short-handed stunner off the stick of senior Michelle McGann (New Berlin, WI), who knocked a bobbled puck by a diving Plunkett to give Amherst a 5-0 advantage heading into the final period.
McGann added another goal just 2:05 into the third period courtesy of a beautiful feed from the corner by Randi Zukas (Glen Head, NY), who found her unguarded teammate at the far post. The wide-open sweep-in score was the veteran's seventh of the season.
Even down a skater with a convincing lead, the Jeffs continued the onslaught, as junior forward Courtney Hanlon (Fullerton, CA) took a long outlet pass from Zukas and beat both the sole Eph defender in her way and Plunkett with some skillful sitckwork and a blsitering top corner wrist shot. The tri-captain's 12th notch of the year ousted Plunkett from competition, and first-year backup Catherine Tremble entered to finish out regulation. The rookie was given much the same treatment by the Jeffs' attack, surrendering the eighth and final goal to first-year Geneva Lloyd (Calgary, Alberta), who with an assist on the Vitale score now has a team-leading 24 points.
Junior Caroline Hu (Cerritos, CA) made 20 saves to earn her sixth shutout of the season, as she improved to 10-1-1 on the season and lowered her Division III-best goals-against average to 0.91.
Amherst will return to action next Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in its 2010 regular season finale against Norwich in non-conference play.