Lord Jeffs Win Second Straight NESCAC Championship with 7-1 Win Over Colby

Amherst is NCAA Tournament-bound for the second consecutive year.

By Alex Kantor

MIDDLEBURY, VT – The second-seeded Amherst College women’s ice hockey team returned to their second consecutive NESCAC Championship game this afternoon against No. 4 Colby College this afternoon. After a power outage delayed the start of the game, the Lord Jeffs and White Mules took to the ice of Kenyon Arena at Middlebury College just after 2 p.m.  The Lord Jeffs used a three-goal second period to break away from Colby en route to a 7-1 win.

Amherst advanced to the 2008 title game with wins over No. 7 Bowdoin and No. 3 Trinity College, while Colby advanced from the quarterfinals with a win over No. 5 Conn. College before upsetting host and top-seed Middlebury yesterday.

The Lord Jeffs were held scoreless on an early power play, before first-year Courtney Hanlon (Fullerton, CA) was whistled for tripping to give the Mules their first man-up chance. Sophomore goaltender Krystyn Elek (Summerville, SC) made a great save during the penalty kill for Amherst to keep the game scoreless.

With 11:19 to play in the first period, Amherst found the back of the net on a beautiful rebound goal. Junior Lindsey Harrington (Westford, MA) pounced on a rebound in the crease, after Colby goaltender Lacey Brown made the initial save on a slap shot from the right point. Assists on the game’s opening goal were recorded by sophomore Alyssa Chwick (Rye Brook, NY) and first-year Julia Koch (Rochester Hills, MI).

Amherst went back on the power play just after the midpoint of the period, and created an early chance off a slap shot from first-year Randi Zukas (Glen Head, NY). The rebound was sent towards the left corner where Hanlon nearly poked the loose puck home. A Colby defender dove in behind Brown to keep the rebound from putting the Jeffs up 2-0.

With just 2:41 remaining in the opening period, Colby found the equalizer on a beautiful individual effort by Stephanie Scarpato during a power play. After taking a feed outside the left face-off circle, Scarpato wove her way into the Amherst defense and flicked a snap shot over Elek’s shoulder.

Co-captains Megan Quinn (left) and Julie Radziewicz (right) led the Jeffs to a second straight NESCAC title. 

Amherst took the lead back less than two minutes into the second period on a wrist shot by sophomore Michelle McGann (New Berlin, WI) from the slot. McGann beat Brown high glove side after taking the feed from classmate Kate Dennett (Highlands Ranch, CO).

The Jeffs extended to a 3-1 lead just 5:36 into the middle frame, when Hanlon set up Harrington for her second score of the game. Hanlon circled behind the Colby net and wrapped a pass around in front for a wide-open Harrington to punch home. Sophomore Molly Malloy (Stamford, CT) picked up the second helper on the score.

Colby was saved from the game being broken wide-open by Jeff junior Tarasai Karega (Detroit, MI). After Karega’s initial shot was stopped, a teammate pumped the rebound on frame only to have it hit Karega as the last line of defense.

Dennett put her name into the scoring column with just over seven minutes to play in the second period on a blazing shot to the top right corner. After picking off a pass inside the left circle, Dennett skated to her right and roofed the puck for a 4-1 Amherst lead.

The Jeffs needed just 13 seconds of the third period for Hanlon to score her first goal of the game on a nice slap shot under Colby’s Genevieve Triganne, who took over for Brown in net.

The Lord Jeffs cruised through the final period en route to a 7-1 win, winning the program’s second consecutive NESCAC Championship. The final Amherst goals were scored in the last two and a half minutes by junior Anna MacLean (Edina, MN) and first-year Bradie Campbell (Surrey, BC).

Elek finished the night with 21 saves in net for Amherst, while Brown and Triganne combined to turn away 22 shots for Colby.

Amherst improves to 20-3-4 overall (12-0-4 NESCAC) to tie the program record for wins in a season, and receives the conference’s automatic bid to the upcoming NCAA Tournament. Colby’s season will likely come to an end with the loss, as the White Mules fall to 15-9-3 (8-5-3) and wait for the at-large bids to be announced.