Contact: Ben Badua
AMHERST, Mass. - The third-ranked Amherst women's hockey team rallied from two down to tie the game late in the third period but a Trinity goal with just 1:22 left in regulation gave the Bantams a hard-fought 3-2 win at Orr Rink.
Winners of seven-straight games coming into tonight's contest, the Jeffs fell to 17-4-0 (11-2-0 NESCAC) on the year, while Trinity snapped a two-game losing skid to improve to 12-9-0 (7-6-0 NESCAC). Suffering their first loss to the Bantams since the 2005-06 season, Amherst is now 11-1-3 in its last 15 meetings with Trinity.
Hoping to set the tone early, senior tri-captain Lindsey Weiner registered the game's first shot less than three minutes after the opening whistle, finding the right pad of Amherst goalie Kerri Stuart (Tewksbury, Mass.) with a low tracer just inside the left circle.
Breaking out of the defensive zone with just over 16 to go in the first, Weiner charged to the front of the Lord Jeff net but was once again denied by Stuart before a Bantam slashing penalty gave the home team the contest's first man-up opportunity.
With time winding down on the power play, Amherst first-year forward Tori Salmon (Batavia, N.Y.) got a stick on a centering pass but deflected the shot just wide left of the Trinity cage, narrowly missing a chance to put the Jeffs ahead.
At the tail-end of another Amherst power play senior Celia Colman-McGaw intercepted an errant pass to the point as the teams moved to even strength, going end-to-end and backhanding a shot inside the right pipe to stake the Bantams to an early 1-0 edge.
Drawing a penalty just 27 seconds later, Trinity's Payson Sword '12 found Macauly Bauer '14 in front at the 10:47 mark to suddenly give the visitors a 2-0 advantage while notching her team-high 12th point of the season.
Looking to keep pace with just over five minutes left in the period, Amherst senior co-captain Stephanie Clegg (Woburn, Mass.) intercepted a pass in the Trinity zone before skating toward the left circle. With Clegg finding space to rip a hard wrister, Bantam netminder Alexa Pujol '14 made a sprawling glove save to keep the Jeffs off the board.
On their fourth man-up opportunity of the frame with under two minutes on the clock, Amherst nearly cut the Trinity lead in half, but sophomore Hayley Opperman's (Wayzata, Minn.) shot from the point hit the left post as the Jeffs headed into the intermission in a 2-0 hole.
Trying to breakthrough early in the second, senior Erin Babineau (St. Paul, Minn.) raced into the right side of the Bantam zone before feeding an on-coming Ellen Swiontkowski (Minnetonka, Minn.), but Pujol quickly slid over to cover the far post to keep Amherst scoreless.
With a chance to pad the Bantam lead, Trinity junior Hillary McNamara found herself all alone in front of the Amherst goal with under eight to play in the second, but Stuart made a big stop on the shot from point-blank range to keep the Jeffs within striking distance.
Continuing to go on the offensive, a persistent Amherst attack finally snuck one past Pujol with just 3:53 remaining in the period when Emily Vitale '12 (Chesire, Conn.) tracked down a rebound on the left side of the Bantam cage, tapping home her seventh goal of the year to pull Amherst within one heading into the final frame.
Searching for the equalizer with less than 17 to go in regulation, an open Emily Flom '15 (Grosse Point Farms, Mich.) tested Pujol with a shot from the left circle but the sophomore made the stop to preserve the Trinity lead.
Still down with under 11 to play, junior Megan Doyen (Ortonville, Mich.) came in alone on net, skating up the left side before forcing Pujol to make another big save. Less than three minutes later, classmate Geneva Lloyd (Calgary, Alberta) got a quick shot off while falling to the ice in front of the Trinity cage but the Bantam goalie kicked out the try to keep the visitors on top.
Needing a game-tying score, Amherst drew a penalty in the waning moments of the third, allowing Flom to redirect an Ashley Salerno '14 (Brunswick, Maine) slap shot from the point into the net at 2:41, but Trinity responded with its own power play goal just 1:19 later, sealing the win on Bauer's score at 18:38.
Pujol made 26 saves en route to her 10th win of the season, while Stuart made 21 stops, falling to 8-2-0 on the year. The Jeffs held a 28-24 shot advantage but finished just 1-for-6 on the power play, while Trinity converted two of three opportunities with the man-up advantage.
Amherst wraps up its weekend set with Trinity on Saturday, Feb. 11 at 3 p.m.