Amherst Skates to 4-3 Overtime Win Over No. 4 Elmira
First-year Emily Vitale's game-winning goal marked her 14th point of the season.
Just four minutes into the first period, Amherst escaped a near-goal from Elmira as a shot that beat Elek rang the crossbar. The Elmira bench erupted, just as the closest referee waived no-goal and play continued. Thirty seconds later, at the next stoppage, the three refs confirmed that Elmira had in fact scored the game’s opener. The unassisted goal was scored on a slap shot by Jenna McCall.
Amherst had a pair of power plays after the mid-point of the first period, and drew even with 5:43 to play in the frame. Early in the power-play, senior tri-captain Lindsey Harrington (Westford, MA) scored on assists from sophomores Courtney Hanlon (Fullerton, CA) and Kate Dennett (Highlands Ranch, CO).
Amherst took a 2-1 lead just 1:10 later, as senior Tarasai Karega (Detroit, MI) put a wrist shot from the slot. The unassisted goal brought the forward’s career point total to 99.
The Lord Jeffs were unable to escape the period with a lead, as Elmira’s Jamie Kivi found the net with an equalizing slap shot. Kayla Coady grabbed the helper on Kivi’s fourth goal of the year.
At the end of the first period, Amherst held a commanding 18-7 edge in shots on goal, but stood tied 2-2 on the scoreboard.
In the second period, Amherst killed off a penalty that was called just five minutes into the stanza. Shortly after the two sides were back to even-strength, Amherst’s Brittany Evans (Edina, MN) had a back-hand shot hit the pipe.
At the midpoint of the second period, with Elmira on the power-play, Amherst’s Braidie Campbell (Surrey, BC) and Harrington broke free for a 2-on-none breakaway. Elmira goaltender Allison Cubberley was able to push a muffed shot wide, as Harrington was unable to connect with Campbell’s pass on the doorstep.
With 6:53 to play in the second period, Amherst netminder Krystyn Elek (Summerville, SC) made a save as McCall came in on a break down the right side. Just over one and a half minutes later, Amherst took a 3-2 lead as Hanlon batted in a feed out of the air for a score. Assists on the go-ahead goal went to Harrington and Michelle McGann (New Berlin, WI).
The Amherst lead stood for just over a minute, as Karen Colehour was left all alone on Elek’s crease for a score. Neither team scored in the final four minutes of the period, but Elmira finished the frame with 0:57 remaining on a power-play.
Amherst killed off the Soaring Eagle power play to start the third period, and return to even-strength. With 11:33 to play in the third, Elek made an amazing save after stopping an initial shot from Elmira. A Soaring Eagle forward took a few cracks at trying to force the puck into Amherst’s net, with Elek using an out-stretched glove to keep the Lord Jeffs level.
With 10:16 to play in the third period, Alyssa Chwick was whistled for tripping, sending Elmira back on the power play. Amherst killed off the ensuing penalty, and with 6:09 left McCall skated in on a 2-on-1, but could not beat Elek. The Jeff goaltender made an amazing glove save on the shot, and held on for a face-off.
Elek made and a handful of saves down the stretch, and Elmira killed off an Amherst power play in the final minutes of regulation. With the game still knotted at 3-3, the two national powers were sent into an extra five-minute session of action.
Halfway through the extra session, Amherst went end-to-end for the game-winning goal. Karega brought the puck up the right side, spun and found Dennett ahead of her, who hit first-year Emily Vitale (Cheshire, CT) coming down the left side. Vitale’s initial shot was saved, before she punched in the rebound.
With the assist on the game-winner, Karega hit the 100-point mark for her Amherst career. Elek finished with 30 saves for the win, while Cubberley turned away 36 shots in the loss. Amherst improves to 17-4-0 (14-0-0 NESCAC) with the win, while Elmira drops to 18-4-1/14-1-1 ECAC West). Amherst will face Conn College this weekend in a Saturday-Sunday away-home series. Saturday’s game in Connecticut is set for 3:30 p.m., with the return leg on Sunday set for 3 p.m.