Jeffs Earn 3-2 Win Over Colby to Open Weekend Series

Emily Vitale '12 had a goal and an assist to lead Amherst past Colby.

By Dan Pozner ’11

AMHERST, MA - The fifth-ranked Amherst College women’s ice hockey team stifled a late comeback en route to a key 3-2 win against a tough Colby College squad Friday evening at Orr Rink. A goal and an assist from junior Emily Vitale (Cheshire, CT) led the way for the Jeffs, who extended their winning streak to five games and a NESCAC-best record of 9-1-1 (11-4-2 overall). Colby falls to 3-8-0 in the league and 7-11-0 overall.

The game began as a defensive battle, with physical play from both sides preventing any development of momentum, as Colby failed to capitalize on three Amherst penalties in the period. The Mules’ best chance came seven minutes into the period when a long pass from defenseman Allie Kane allowed forward Silvia Xistris to break free on net. Amherst goaltender Caroline Hu ’11 (Cerritos, CA) got enough of a pad on Xistris’ wrister and the puck trickled wide.

Amherst broke the deadlock with 2:35 left in the first when senior captain Courtney Hanlon (Fullerton, CA) corralled a pass deep in the Colby zone and sent the puck in front of the goal, where Vitale snuck a shot near-post past Colby goaltender Brianne Wheeler. Neither team was able to create any opportunities during a brief four-on-four session, as Amherst headed into the first intermission with a 1-0 lead.

Amherst doubled its lead during a power play three minutes into the second period when junior Ellen Swiontkowski (Minnetonka, MN) fed the puck to sophomore Geneva Lloyd (Calgary, Alberta), who blasted a slap shot past Wheeler from the top of the zone. Lloyd’s goal brings her season point total to a team-leading 15.

Colby cut the deficit in half midway through the second period when forward Meryl Poulin controlled the rebound off a Natalie Fisher slap shot and lifted the puck over Hu’s shoulder into the top netting.

Amherst responded five minutes later when Vitale made the most of a man-up advantage. The junior forward snapped a pass across the goal to a streaking Braidie Campbell (Surrey, BC), who lifted a wrister past Wheeler, extending Amherst’s lead to 3-1.

Colby increased the pressure late in the final period when a long pass from Stephanie Scarpato to forward Marissa Simmons led to a breakaway for the visitors. Simmons lifted the puck high into the top of the Amherst net, cutting the visitors’ deficit to 3-2 with 3:30 remaining. Colby pulled its goalie and added another attacker with just under a minute left, but the Amherst defense stayed resilient and held on for the 3-2 win.

Hu finished the night with 10 saves for the Jeffs. Wheeler stopped 38 shots for the Mules.

The two teams will face each other again tomorrow at Orr Rink at 3 p.m.