Koch's Late Goal Keeps Jeffs Unbeaten with 1-1 Tie Against #4 RIT

Julia Koch scored the game-tying goal for Amherst in the final
two minutes of regulation against No. 4 R.I.T.

AMHERST, MA – The 2nd-ranked Amherst College women’s hockey team played host to the 4th-ranked Rochester Institute of Technology in the USCHO.com Women’s Game of the Week this evening at Orr Rink. After falling behind the Tigers in the second period, Amherst needed a score from junior Julia Koch (Rochester Hills, MI) in the final two minutes of regulation to force overtime and an eventual 1-1 draw.

Less than two minutes into the game Amherst went on the power play as an RIT player was whistled for body checking. During the ensuing session, Amherst sophomore Emily Vitale (Cheshire, CT) nearly scored the game’s first goal on a rebound opportunity. Tiger goaltender Carley King was up to the task though, and pushed Vitale’s bid wide.

Amherst junior tri-captain Courtney Hanlon (Fullerton, CA) hit the right pipe with less than two minutes to play in the opening period, as the Lord Jeffs put heavy pressure on King in the final moments of the stanza. In the final minute of the frame, rookie Megan Doyen (Ortonville, MI) stole a pass on her backhand at the blue line and lifted a shot past King, but once again, Amherst was denied by the right post.

Early in the second period RIT took a 1-0 lead on a tally by leading goal-scorer Katie Stack. Early in the first period, Stack took a hard fall into the Amherst goal and was down on the ice for a few minutes before skating back to the bench. The junior forward returned without missing more than a shift, and scored her eighth goal of the season for the night’s first marker.

Just seconds after the Stack goal, Amherst’s Ellen Swiontkowski (Minnetonka, MN) broke in free on King, but as she made a nice move to her backhand, lost control of the puck and was unable to release a shot. With 9:20 to play in the second period, Lord Jeff sophomore Josie Fisher (Norwich, VT) was set free on a long pass down the middle of the rink, but an RIT defender chased her down from behind to prevent a one-on-one opportunity with King.

With 4:07 remaining in the second period, Hanlon drew a tripping call with a resilient effort on the right of the RIT net. The Lord Jeffs were unable to set up their power play, but with just two seconds to play on the effort, RIT’s Ali Hills was called for body checking. Amherst was able to essentially finish the period on the power play, but could not find the equalizer.

Six minutes into the third period, Amherst senior tri-captain Kirsten Dier (Appleton, WI) was released from the penalty box just in time to corral a half-cleared puck and skate in alone on King. The speedy defender put a nice move on King, but her shot to the top right corner sailed just over the crossbar.

With just under two minutes to play in the third period, Amherst head coach Jim Plumer called a timeout. After a quick whistle set up a faceoff to King’s left, Hanlon won the draw back to Koch. Koch controlled the puck and let a hard wrist shot fly to the lower left corner to beat King for a game-tying score.

The equalizer sent the game into an extra session, during which neither side produced a significant scoring chance. After five minutes, the final horn sounded and two of the top teams settled to a 1-1 overtime draw.  At the end of the night, King made 38 saves for the Tigers, while Amherst’s Sinead Murphy turned away 32 Tiger attempts in net for Amherst.

Amherst improves to 4-0-2 with the result, while the Tigers shift to 5-0-2. Both teams will return to Orr Rink tomorrow at 3 p.m. for a rematch and conclusion of the two-game regular season series.