Swiontkowski's Overtime Winner Puts Amherst in NESCAC Finals

Swiontkowski
Ellen Swiontkowski '12 scored the game winner five minutes and 46 seconds into overtime.

Courtesy of Middlebury College

MIDDLEBURY, VT – Ellen Swiontkowski ’12 (Minnetonka, MN) scored five minutes and 46 seconds into overtime to lead the Amherst College women’s ice hockey team to a 4-3 win over Trinity College Saturday afternoon in the NESCAC Championship semifinal round.

The second-seeded Lord Jeffs (19-5-2) will make their fifth consecutive trip to the conference finals when they take on top-seeded Middlebury College Sunday at 2 p.m. at Kenyon Arena. The host Panthers breezed past fourth-seeded Bowdoin Saturday afternoon by a score of 4-0. Third-seeded Trinity’s season will likely come to an end with an impressive 18-4-4 record.

Amherst jumped out quickly with a pair of goals in the game’s first 3:09, as the Jeffs struck 93 seconds into the opening period on a power-play goal from Geneva Lloyd ’13 (Calgary, Alberta). Randi Zukas ’11 (Glen Head, NY) made a quick pass to Lloyd on the doorstep, and the sophomore defender finished off her 11th tally of the year.

The lead increased to 2-0 at 3:09 when Courtney Hanlon ’11 (Fullerton, CA) scored on a rebound after a shot from Emily Vitale ’12 (Cheshire, CT) had been saved.

Trinity jumped back in the game midway through the period at 10:49, as Celia Colman-McGaw netted her seventh goal of the year. Kim Weiss won a race to the puck behind the net before sliding a pass to Colman-McGaw for a quick redirect in the slot.

The Bantams tied the contest at 9:53 of the second period when Colman-McGaw skated down the middle and snapped a shot into the top right corner to make it a 2-2 game. Trinity took its first lead at 14:20, when Macauly Bauer scored the first goal of her career with a blast from the high slot.

Amherst pushed right back to knot the score at 3-3 with 1:18 left in the second period when Hanlon found Swiontkowski on the power play for her eighth goal of the season. Neither team scored in the third period, forcing the game into sudden death overtime. Amherst ended regulation with a 20-16 advantage in shots.

Amherst had a great chance 3:35 into overtime, but Alexa Pujol made a spectacular glove save on Brittney Evans ’11 (Edina, MN). The Jeffs broke through at 5:46, with Swiontkowski taking advantage of a turnover and wristing home a shot from the right side for the game winner.

Sinead Murphy ’12 (Rochester, MN) made 10 saves and allowed three goals in the first two periods for Amherst, while Caroline Hu ’11 (Cerritos, CA) picked up the win by making five saves and keeping the Bantams off the board for the final 25:46. Pujol finished with 20 stops for the Bantams.

The Lord Jeffs have been one of the hottest teams in Division III, posting a 16-2-1 record since the start of January. Zukas increased her point streak to nine games, while Hanlon bumped hers to eight. The Bantams had their winning streak snapped at seven games, marking the second consecutive year they have been knocked out of the NESCAC tournament by Amherst in overtime.

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
No. 1 Middlebury def. No. 4 Bowdoin, 4-0
No. 2 Amherst def. No. 3 Trinity, 4-3 (OT)

Championship Game – Sunday, Mar. 6
No. 1 Middlebury vs. No. 2 Amherst – 2 p.m.