Athletics

Amherst Hockey Teams Hosting Quarterfinal Games Saturday

NESCAC%20Champ%20LogoGame Schedule: Saturday’s first quarterfinal will feature the Amherst men hosting Bowdoin College at 1 p.m., followed by the Amherst women taking on Colby College at 7 p.m. Games will be played at Amherst College's Orr Rink in Amherst, Mass. Saturday’s winners will advance to play in next weekend's semifinal round, which will take place at the highest remaining seed in each tournament.

Live Coverage: Saturday’s games will feature free webcasts with audio play-by-play courtesy of JeffCast.

Ticket Information: Tickets for Saturday’s men's game will be $3 for adults and $1 for students. Fans who attend the men’s game should hang on to their tickets, which will also allow them to gain entrance to the women’s game. Tickets for those attending only the women’s game will be $3 for adults and $1 for students. Amherst College students with a valid ID will be admitted to both games free of charge. Doors to Orr Rink will open at 11:30 a.m. for the men’s game and at 5:30 p.m. for the women’s.

Wray

Amherst's Trip Wray and Bowdoin's Daniel Weiniger.
weiniger

Men’s Preview: Fans will be treated to a rematch of one of the most exciting games of the regular season when fourth-seeded Amherst (12-8-4, 10-6-3) and fifth-seeded Bowdoin (15-7-1, 11-7-1) battle for a spot in the semifinals. The Polar Bears came to Orr Rink on Feb. 4 in the driver’s seat to host the conference tournament for a second consecutive year, but the Lord Jeffs overcame a two-goal deficit to hand the fifth-ranked team in Division III a 3-2 loss. Amherst junior co-captain Eddie Effinger evened the score at 2-2 midway through the final period, and only 24 seconds later a centering pass from first-year Brian Safstrom deflected off a Bowdoin defender and found its way into the back of the net, giving the Jeffs a 3-2 lead that held up.

Bowdoin is ranked 10th in the USCHO.com Division III Men’s Poll despite going through a recent 0-4-1 stretch. The Polar Bears rank third in the nation in scoring offense (4.43 gpg) and boast the highest rated power play unit (33.3 percent) thanks in large part to the trio of Kyle Shearer-Hardy ’11 (9-25-34), Jeff Fanning ’11 (18-6-24) and Daniel Weiniger ’13 (18-20-38). Bowdoin allowed 4.0 goals per game during its 0-4-1 skid and followed up by surrendering five goals in a win over Skidmore, but the Bears are coming off an impressive 3-0 win at New England College. Steve Messina ’14 made 19 saves against Amherst in the regular season, but the Lord Jeffs will likely see Richard Nerland ’12, who earned the shutout against NEC and has recorded slightly better statistics than Messina has throughout the season.

Amherst headed into its regular season finale against UMass Boston having won five of its previous six games (out-scoring opponents 22-10 during that stretch), but the Lord Jeffs stumbled and allowed a season-high seven goals to the Beacons while scoring only two of their own. Amherst, which is 6-2-3 against NESCAC teams this season, has allowed 2.50 goals per game and holds the edge over Bowdoin on defense, but the Polar Bears have nearly a 2-to-1 advantage on the power play over the Jeffs (17.4 percent), who have averaged 3.17 goals per contest. Matt Rhone ’11, Nick Brunette ’13 and Andrew Kurlandski ’14 are each riding a point streak of four games, with Rhone totaling eight points in that stretch.

Saturday will mark the sixth time in the 12-year history of the NESCAC Championship that the Jeffs and Polar Bears have met in one of the first two rounds. Second-seeded Amherst handed fifth-seeded Bowdoin a 3-0 loss in the 2001 semifinals, but the Bears ended the Jeffs’ season in 2002, 2005, 2006 and 2007. Bowdoin has advanced to the title game four times but has never been crowned champion, losing to Middlebury in the 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2010 finals. Amherst has made two finals appearances, winning its first championship in 2009.

Hanlon

Amherst's Courtney Hanlon and Colby's Stephanie Scarpato. 
Scarpato

Women’s Preview: Second-seeded Amherst (17-5-2, 13-2-1) and seventh-seeded Colby (9-15-0, 5-11-0) will be meeting for the third time this season, as the Lord Jeffs have already earned wins of 3-2 and 3-1 over the Mules. Amherst out-shot Colby by a combined 85-29 on Jan. 28 and Jan. 29, as Brianne Wheeler ’14—who ranks third in the NESCAC in save percentage (.932)—made 79 saves in two days the last time she came to town. Caroline Hu ’11 made 10 stops to earn the win in the series opener, while Kerri Stuart ’14 had 16 saves to pick up the victory the following day. The Lord Jeffs were 3-for-7 on the power play in those two games, while the Mules failed to score on their five extra-skater opportunities.

Colby is 2-5 in its past seven games but is coming off a 4-1 win over Williams. Nine of the Mules’ first 11 losses of the season were by a single goal, including close results against Amherst, Trinity and Bowdoin. Stephanie Scarpato ’11 leads the team in goals (8), assists (12) and points (20), and against the Ephs last weekend she picked up the 100th point of her career. Nobody else has recorded more than eight points for the Mules, who are scoring 1.75 goals per game while allowing 2.04. Colby has already won six more games than it did last year, when the Mules went 3-17-5 overall and 1-12-3 in the NESCAC, with that one win in conference play coming against then-top-ranked Amherst.

Ranked sixth in the latest USCHO.com Division III Women’s Poll, Amherst has won 11 of its past 12 games after getting off to a 6-4-2 start. The Jeffs struggled with consistency on offense in the first half of the season, but they are averaging 6.5 goals during their current four-game win streak and have moved into a tie for the NESCAC lead in scoring offense (3.46 gpg). Randi Zukas ’11 and Geneva Lloyd ’13 are tied for the Division III lead in defenseman scoring (1.12 ppg), with Zukas (4-23-27) carrying a seven-game point streak into the postseason. Amherst features the best power play unit in the nation (31.2 percent), with Stephanie Clegg ’12 (12-11-23) accounting for 10 PP goals and ranking fourth in Division III in defenseman scoring (0.96 ppg).

Amherst will be looking to make a fifth consecutive appearance in the NESCAC finals, having come away with the title in 2007, 2008 and 2010. The Mules’ only appearance in the championship game came in 2008, when they suffered a 7-1 loss to Amherst as the fourth seed. The Jeffs and Mules also met in the 2006 and 2010 quarterfinals, with Colby winning the former (4-2) and Amherst taking the latter (10-1).  

2011 NESCAC Men’s Hockey Championship
Quarterfinal Round – Saturday, Feb. 26
No. 6 Colby at No. 3 Middlebury – 1 p.m.
No. 5 Bowdoin at No. 4 Amherst – 1 p.m.
No. 8 Wesleyan at No. 1 Hamilton – 3 p .m.
No. 7 Trinity at No. 2 Williams – 4 p.m.

Semifinal Round – Saturday, Mar. 5
(Played at Highest Remaining Seed)
Highest Remaining vs. Lowest Remaining – 1 p.m.
Remaining Quarterfinal Winners – 4 p.m.

Championship Game – Sunday, Mar. 6
Semifinal Winners – 2 p.m.
2011 NESCAC Women’s Hockey Championship
Quarterfinal Round – Saturday, Feb. 26
No. 6 Hamilton at No. 3 Trinity – 3 p.m.
No. 5 Conn. College at No. 4 Bowdoin – 4 p.m.
No. 8 Williams at No. 1 Middlebury – 4 p .m.
No. 7 Colby at No. 2 Amherst – 7 p.m.

Semifinal Round – Saturday, Mar. 5
(Played at Highest Remaining Seed)
Highest Remaining vs. Lowest Remaining – 1 p.m.
Remaining Quarterfinal Winners – 4 p.m.

Championship Game – Sunday, Mar. 6
Semifinal Winners – 2 p.m.