Contact: Justin Long
AMHERST, Mass. – The Middlebury College women's ice hockey team jumped out to a 2-0 lead and Jennifer Krakower '14 scored what held up as the game winner as the fourth-ranked Panthers earned a 3-2 win over sixth-ranked Amherst College Saturday afternoon at Orr Rink.
Middlebury (9-1-2, 7-1-0 NESCAC) had been 8-for-43 (.186) on the power play in its past 10 meetings with Amherst, but the Panthers were 2-for-3 on extra-skater opportunities this time around. The Jeffs (10-3-0, 7-1-0 NESCAC) also scored twice on the power play and held a slim 23-22 advantage in shots.
Molly Downey '13 and Maddie Melberg '12 each added a goal for Middlebury, while Madison Styrbicki '13 and Lauren Greer '13 finished with two assists apiece. Geneva Lloyd '13 accounted for both of Amherst's goals and bumped her point streak to five games, with Ashley Salerno '14 recording a pair of assists.
The Panthers capitalized on the game's first penalty when Downey recorded her second power-play goal of the season 11:02 into the opening period. Middlebury was denied twice by goaltender Sinead Murphy '12, but Downey finally pushed home a rebound to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.
Melberg scored her second goal in as many days when she beat Murphy stick-side with 2:29 to play in the first period. Amherst would hit the post immediately after the ensuing face-off, but the Panthers carried their 2-0 lead into the first intermission.
Amherst got one back 10:55 into the second period when Lloyd scored her fifth goal of the season. With the Jeffs on the power play, Lloyd had no angle on the Middlebury net but was able to fire the puck off the back heel of goaltender Annabelle Jones '15, sneaking a shot inside the post to make it a 2-1 game.
The Panthers began the third period with a fresh power play to work with, and they needed only 50 seconds to push their lead to 3-1. Krakower's third goal of the season proved to be the difference maker, with Greer and Styrbicki recording assists on the play.
The Jeffs responded less than four minutes later when Lloyd scored her second goal of the afternoon. With Amherst again on the power play, Josie Fisher '12 dug the puck out of a scrum along the boards and found Salerno at the blue line. Salerno delivered a pass to Lloyd, who quickly turned and fired a bullet that beat Jones 4:04 into the frame.
Lloyd nearly tied the game in the final minute when she went coast-to-coast and hit the side of the net, and Middlebury followed by hitting the post on a shot that went the length of the ice on an empty-net opportunity. Amherst made one last push, but Lloyd was denied by Jones and the Panthers held on for the 3-2 win.
Jones finished with 21 saves and improved to 5-1-2 on the season, while Murphy stopped 19 shots for Amherst and dropped to 5-2-0.
After splitting the regular-season series, Amherst and Middlebury moved back into a tie for first place in the conference standings. History indicates that the Jeffs and Panthers may see each other again this season, as they have squared off in three of the past five NESCAC title games.
The Lord Jeffs will resume their most difficult stretch of the season when they travel to the Midwest to take on seventh-ranked Wisconsin-River Falls and Saint Thomas next Wednesday and Thursday. Middlebury will host Bowdoin in a pair of NESCAC games next Friday and Saturday.
Watch Geneva Lloyd's first goal of the game here.
Watch Geneva Lloyd's second goal of the game here.