Amherst Falls to Utica 2-1 in Overtime at Home

Amherst held a 1-0 lead in the third period, but fell 2-1 in overtime to Utica.

AMHERST, MA – The fourth-ranked Amherst College women’s ice hockey team hosted the Utica College Pioneers this afternoon in their second semester home opener. Amherst held a 1-0 lead heading into the third period, but fell 2-1 in overtime.

Just two and a half minutes into the opening period, Utica was whistled for a penalty, giving the Jeff power-play unit an early chance to get on the board. Amherst had a few shots on net during the advantage, but failed to mount a significant scoring chance.

After a few minutes of up and down action, Utica was called for an interference penalty with 12:37 showing on the clock. The Pioneers had a promising short-handed chance early on in the penalty kill, but Amherst responded with a solid offensive set.

With just under four minutes remaining in the period, Amherst senior co-captain Megan Quinn (Wakefield, MA) was denied on the doorstep by Utica goaltender Jillian Doherty. The Jeffs continued to put Doherty under pressure to close out the first period, but went to the locker room in a scoreless tie.

Once again in the second period, Amherst started with an early power-play, but came away empty handed as the Pioneers would bend, but not break. With 17 minutes remaining in the second period, sophomore goaltender Krystyn Elek (Summerville, SC) was called to action on a Utica breakaway.

After the sliding save by Elek, Amherst rushed down the ice on a slow break, setting up the game’s first score. First-year CC Wyshnytzky (Hawthorn Woods, IL) took the original shot, before sophomore Michelle McGann (New Berlin, WI) punched home the rebound from inside the crease.

At the 13:49 mark, the Lord Jeffs were called for a second straight penalty, setting-up a 5-on-3 power play for Utica. Amherst killed off the first penalty, and then ran out the clock on the second with a nice short-handed opportunity from Tarasai Karega (Detroit, MI).

Neither team posed a significant threat to break the game open during the remainder of the second period, and Amherst headed to the locker room with a 1-0 advantage. At the second intermission, the Lord Jeffs held a 23-16 edge in shots on goal.

Amherst controlled the run of play until the 6:26 mark in regulation. Utica’s Samantha Rowan skated in uncontested for a breakaway on Elek, where she beat the Jeff goalie with a wrist shot off the bottom of the crossbar.

With 3:09 remaining in the third period, Amherst’s Randi Zukas (Glen Head, NY) was called for a penalty to give the Pioneers a golden opportunity to take a late lead. Amherst killed off the two minutes and then had just over a minute to look for the game-winner in regulation.

The final minute ticked off the clock, and the two sides skated to the benches to prepare for a five minute overtime period. Halfway through the overtime frame, the Pioneers stole the game away from Amherst on a transition score.

Utica’s game-winner came from senior Kelly Bills with just 2:33 remaining in the extra frame. Bills was set-up on the far side of the goal and pushed the puck past a sliding Elek.

The loss drops Amherst to 5-2-2 on the season, while Utica improves to 7-3. Amherst returns to action tomorrow afternoon at home against fifth-ranked R.I.T. for a 3 p.m. game.