Amherst Teams Set for Pivotal Weekend at Orr Rink

Contact: Justin Long

AMHERST, Mass. – If you’re looking for a weekend to take in some Amherst College hockey at Orr Rink, this is that weekend. While the men will host NESCAC powerhouses Williams and Middlebury, the women will take on Oswego State and top-ranked RIT in a pair of games that will have significant postseason implications.

Men’s Hockey

The Schedule
Friday, Dec. 9, 7:30 p.m. --- #14 Amherst (5-1-0, 3-0-0 NESCAC) vs. #12 Williams (4-0-2, 3-0-1 NESCAC)
Saturday, Dec. 10, 3 p.m. --- #14 Amherst vs. #8 Middlebury (4-1-1, 4-0-0 NESCAC)

Moher
Amherst is 2-1-1 against Middlebury in the past three
years and has won four straight against Williams.

Live Coverage
Fans who can’t make it to Orr Rink can follow JeffCast for a live webcast of each game. Be sure to tune in 10 minutes prior to the opening face-off to hear pre-game analysis from play-by-play commentator Hugh Campbell.

The Rundown
This weekend will give fans an opportunity to watch some of the best hockey the NESCAC has to offer. In addition to being the conference’s only teams ranked in the USCHO.com Poll, Amherst, Middlebury and Williams are the only programs without a loss in NESCAC play. With very few NCAA at-large bids being handed out to the NESCAC these past few years, each conference game carries a significant amount of weight.

Middlebury posted a 13-game unbeaten streak against the Lord Jeffs during an eight-year stretch, but the Amherst Class of 2012 is 2-1-1 against the Panthers. Amherst similarly went four years without a win against Williams, but the Jeffs have outscored the Ephs by a 20-5 margin during their current four-game winning streak. This is the third consecutive year in which the Ephs are undefeated and nationally-ranked heading into their first showdown with Amherst.

Amherst, Middlebury and Williams feature three senior goaltenders who rank nationally in the top-five in goals-against average. Standing out is Amherst's Jonathan La Rose ’12, who leads Division III in both save percentage (.957) and GAA (1.00). The Lord Jeffs and Panthers boast the nation’s best scoring defense (1.33 g/gm), with the Ephs close behind at 1.83 goals per game. Amherst and Middlebury also rank second nationally in penalty kill percentage (96.2), while the Jeffs have scored on six of their last 17 power play opportunities against the Ephs (35.3 percent).

Women’s Hockey

The Schedule
Saturday, Dec. 10, 7:30 p.m. --- #5 Amherst (5-1-1) vs. Oswego State (5-4-2)
Sunday, Dec. 11, 3 p.m. --- #5 Amherst vs. #1 RIT (10-0-0)

Clegg
Strong showings against Oswego State and top-ranked RIT
would help Amherst build its résumé for the postseason.

Live Coverage
Fans who can’t make it to Orr Rink can follow JeffCast for a live webcast of each game. Be sure to tune in 10 minutes prior to the opening face-off to hear pre-game analysis from play-by-play commentator Hugh Campbell.

The Rundown
Amherst was one of the best teams in Division III last year but still did not receive an invitation to the NCAA Tournament. With only seven spots up for grabs, building a strong résumé during the non-conference schedule is particularly important for teams competing in leagues as competitive as the NESCAC and ECAC West.

For the Lord Jeffs, their non-conference games will not get any more challenging than Sunday’s showdown with the top-ranked team in Division III. RIT finished the 2010-11 season with a 26-2-2 record as the national runner-up, and the Tigers are once again cruising along as the team to beat. They are outscoring opponents by a 72-10 margin this season, notably beating Chatham by a combined 29-1 during a weekend series. Ten players have already recorded at least 10 points for RIT, which has been ranked No. 1 in the USCHO.com Poll for the majority of the past two seasons.

Sunday will mark the eighth consecutive Amherst-RIT meeting in which both teams are ranked nationally, with the Tigers posting a 4-2-1 record against the Jeffs during that span. Amherst was the top-ranked squad during last year’s two-game series, but third-ranked RIT came away with wins of 2-0 and 5-1. Prior to taking on the Tigers, the Jeffs will host Oswego State for the first time in program history. Oswego is only 5-4-2 on the season but is a dangerous team, notably handing RIT its only regular-season loss a year ago.