Jeffs Cruise Past Colby in NESCAC Quarterfinals, 5-0

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Sinead Murphy '12 stopped all 13 shots she faced to earn the shutout for Amherst.

AMHERST, MA – Second-seeded Amherst College scored twice in the opening three minutes and never looked back, pulling away for a 5-0 win over seventh-seeded Colby College Saturday evening at Orr Rink in a NESCAC Women’s Ice Hockey Championship quarterfinal game.

The Lord Jeffs (18-5-2) will carry a five-game win streak into next Saturday’s 4 p.m. showdown with third-seeded Trinity College, with that semifinal game set to take place at Middlebury College, the tournament’s top seed. The Mules end their season at 9-16-0 after falling to Amherst in the NESCAC quarterfinals for the second time in as many years.

Amherst defeated Colby by scores of 3-2 and 3-1 in the regular season, but the third installment would not be as close as the Jeffs got on the board quickly. Courtney Baranek ’14 (West Babylon, NY) opened the scoring 1:52 into the contest, with the Mules also getting whistled for a penalty on the first-year’s breakaway goal. Amherst capitalized on the ensuing power play when Ellen Swiontkowski ’12 (Minnetonka, MN) just barely pushed the puck over the goal line to make it a 2-0 game after only two minutes and 50 seconds.

The Jeffs would get a third goal in the first period when Stephanie Clegg ’12 (Woburn, MA) sent the puck in from the point, allowing Megan Doyen ’13 (Ortonville, MI) to screen the goalie and deflect a shot into the back of the net for a 3-0 Amherst lead.

Coming out of the first intermission, it took Amherst only 1:24 to push its lead to 4-0, as Courtney Hanlon ’11 (Fullerton, CA) netted her team-leading 14th goal of the season. With 4:04 to play in the second period Barrett McBride ’14 (Glenview, IL) delivered a backhanded pass from behind the net to Braidie Campbell ’11 (Surrey, BC), who blasted a shot past Colby goaltender Brianne Wheeler ’14 before she had time to react, giving the hosts a 5-0 lead heading into the second break.

Amherst took five shots in the final period but was denied by Wheeler on each of them, as the game ended in a 5-0 score. The Mules made a final push when Allyson Kane ’13 crushed a slapshot from the point with two minutes to go, but Sinead Murphy ’12 (Rochester, MN) was there to knock the puck away and preserve Amherst’s sixth shutout of the season.

Wheeler finished with 34 saves for the Mules, while Murphy stopped 13 shots to earn the win. Amherst went 1-for-3 on the power play and held Colby to an 0-for-4 performance on 5-on-4 opportunities. With an assist on Swiontkowski’s first-period goal, Randi Zukas ’11 bumped her point streak to eight games.

BOX SCORE

2011 NESCAC Women’s Hockey Championship
Quarterfinal Round – Saturday, Feb. 26
No. 1 Middlebury def. No. 8 Williams, 6-2
No. 2 Amherst def. No. 7 Colby, 5-0
No. 3 Trinity def. No. 6 Hamilton, 3-1
No. 4 Bowdoin def. No. 5 Conn. College, 2-1

Semifinal Round – Saturday, Mar. 5
(Played at Middlebury)
No. 1 Middlebury vs. No. 4 Bowdoin – 1 p.m.
No. 2 Amherst vs. No. 3 Trinity – 4 p.m.

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