Jeffs Wrap Up Season With 5-0 Loss to Norwich

NORTHFIELD, Vt. - The Amherst women's hockey team closed out its season with a 5-0 loss to Norwich University in the opening round of the 2012 NCAA Championship.

Dropping to 6-4 all-time in Tournament play, the Lord Jeffs wrapped up the year with a 21-6-1 record, while the defending champion Cadets (26-2-1) advanced to the national semifinals where they will face Gustavus Adolphus.

Shut out for the first time in 68 games during the squads' last meeting in late January, the nation's top ranked offense wasted no time getting on the board, breaking through at 4:24 when Stephanie Invernizzi '13 redirected a Sarianne Lynn '12 shot from the right circle over the shoulder of senior goaltender Sinead Murphy (Rochester, Minn.) for her seventh tally of the season.

Looking to get going offensively, Amherst nearly pulled even halfway through the period when Melissa Martin '15 (Berkley, Mass.) raced out of the penalty box before skating toward the net. Receiving a cross ice pass on the right post, the first year looked to be in position to bury the equalizer, but sophomore goaltender Kelly Fisk quickly slid over to smother the shot from point blank range.

Hoping to pad the Cadet lead with just over three minutes remaining in the frame, Invernizzi found open space in front, putting a quick backhand on net, but Murphy got a pad on the try to deny the forward a chance at a second score.

Continuing to go on the offensive, Melissa Rundlett '12 found a seam and came in alone on net less than a minute later, but Amherst's goaltender again came up big, making a sprawling glove save to momentarily keep the Norwich attack at bay. Undaunted, the Cadets ripped another shot toward the cage from the blue line, which found the stick of Jillayne DeBus '13, who redirected it past Murphy to stake the home team to a 2-0 lead at 18:32.

With Kaycie Anderson '15 almost putting the Cadets up three on a breakaway chance in the waning moments of the opening period, Norwich looked to carry its momentum into the second, applying pressure from the onset of the frame.

After testing Murphy with a wrister from the point, DeBus tracked down the rebound to the right of the goal before slotting her 21st goal of the year just 1:28 in to extend the Cadet advantage to 3-0.

Trying to get something going with under 12 to go in the middle period, Amherst looked to have solved Fisk, sneaking a shot from the left circle past the goaltender, but sophomore defenseman Kayla Parsons cleared the trickling puck off the line to keep the Jeffs off the board.

Capitalizing on a big stop almost immediately, first year Tyne Gove skated forward on a 2-on-1 before sliding a pass to a trailing Renee Lortie '14, who buried the chance to give Norwich a commanding 4-0 lead which they would not relinquish.

Entering the game as the nation's second ranked scoring defense, Amherst surrendered more than three goals for the first time this season, after shutting out the Cadets in their first meeting on Jan. 24.

Norwich, which has been on a roll of late, outscoring opponents 83-19 during a 15-game unbeaten streak, held a 26-18 advantage in shots, while scoring at least four goals for the 11th time in 12 games.

Falling to 13-4-1 on the year, Murphy made 21 stops for the Jeffs, while Fisk avenged her only loss of the season, collecting 18 saves en route to her 19th win.

Concluding another successful season under head coach Jim Plumer, the Lord Jeffs earned the program's fifth appearance in the NCAA Tournament while posting its fifth 20-win season.

Three Jeffs earned All-NESCAC honors for their efforts, with Geneva Lloyd '13 (Calgary, Alberta) taking home Player of the Year honors, while Ashley Salerno '14 (Brunswick, Maine) and Josie Fisher '12 (Norwich, Vt.) were named to the all-conference second team.

With the loss, Amherst will bid farewell to one of the program's most decorated senior classes. Together, Murphy, Fisher, Emily Vitale (Chesire, Conn.), Stephanie Clegg (Woburn, Mass.), Ellen Swiontkowski (Minnetonka, Minn.) and Erin Babineau (St. Paul, Minn.) posted an 87-19-7 overall mark, while advancing to the NESCAC championship game in each of their four years.

Making three trips to the NCAA Tournament, the Class of 2012 captured the program's third NESCAC title in 2010, while also claiming a pair of National Championships in 2009 and 2010.

Enjoying a breakout senior season, Murphy entered the game as the national leader in save percentage, while ranking second in goals-against average. Finishing the year with a .943 save percentage and 1.21 GAA, she concludes a stellar four-year career with a 27-6-5 mark. Leading the team in scoring in 2011-12, Swiontkowski racked up 73 points in 98 appearances for the Jeffs from 2008-12, while Fisher wraps up her career with 29 goals and 36 assists.

Appearing in 108 games, Babineau was a staple in the Jeff lineup during her time in Purple & White, finishing with nine goals and 17 assists, while tri-captains Vitale and Clegg combined for 14 goals and nine assists in their final seasons for Amherst.