Lord Jeffs Fall to Top-Ranked RIT, 1-0

Murphy3 Contact: Justin Long

AMHERST, Mass. – Ali Hills '12 scored 10:25 into the opening period and Laura Chamberlain '14 made 32 saves to lead the top-ranked Rochester Institute of Technology women's ice hockey team to a 1-0 win over fifth-ranked Amherst College Sunday afternoon at Orr Rink. 

Amherst (6-2-0) held a 32-20 advantage in shots on goal and had eight power play opportunities, but Chamberlain came up big throughout the game to help the Tigers improve to 12-0-0 on the season and 42-1-2 in their last 45 regular season games. 

The Jeffs committed only one penalty in the first 52 minutes of Sunday's game, a high-stick infraction that didn't result in a single shot for the visitors. Amherst, meanwhile, had several scoring chances on its two first-period power plays, but Chamberlain was sharp right off the bat. 

The goal that stood up as the game winner began to take form when Ariane Yokoyama '13 received the puck on the right wing and carried it along the boards. She crossed the blue line and sent a pass across the ice to Hills, who had a defender on her heels but managed to make enough contact to deflect the puck past the outstretched left leg of Amherst goaltender Sinead Murphy '12, giving the Tigers a 1-0 lead with 9:35 on the clock. 

Amherst was 0-for-3 on the power play in the second period and came up just shy of a goal when Emily Vitale '12 hit the post late in the frame. The Tigers had two near-goals of their own but were denied by big plays from Murphy on each occasion, the first of which came when Marissa Maugeri '15 was turned away on a 1-on-1 situation with 9:46 to go.   

Chamberlain made her biggest stand when the Tigers were whistled for a five-minute penalty 1:36 into the third period and another two-minute minor at 6:38, as Amherst came up empty during what was virtually seven consecutive minutes of a power play. 

Amherst nearly found the equalizer during a 5-on-4 situation with three minutes to play when Vitale sent a pass from behind the net to Kaitlyn McInnis '13 at the doorstep, but Chamberlain made the stop at point-blank range. Heavy pressure from RIT prevented the Jeffs from pulling Murphy until there were only 11 seconds remaining in regulation, as the Tigers held on for the 1-0 victory. 

Sunday marked the eighth consecutive Amherst-RIT meeting in which both teams were ranked nationally, with the Tigers holding a 5-2-1 edge over the Lord Jeffs. Sunday also brought an end to Amherst's 11-game home winning streak. 

Seventeen RIT players had recorded at least one goal on the season entering Sunday's game, and Hills made it 18 with her first score of the year. Yokoyama, meanwhile, registered her team-leading 14th assist and 17th point. 

Murphy finished with 19 saves for the Lord Jeffs, dropping her to 3-1-0 on the season while keeping her among the nation's leaders in both save percentage (.951) and goals-against average (1.00). 

Amherst will return to action Jan. 3 with a game at New England College, while the Tigers will have to wait until Jan. 6 before resuming their season with a home game against Adrian in what will be a rematch of last year's NCAA quarterfinals.