Women's Hockey Takes Game One From Amherst

January 14, 2011

Middlebury College used three third-period goals to maintain sole possession of first place in the NESCAC women’s ice hockey standings, as the visiting Panthers earned a 3-0 win over Amherst College Friday evening at Orr Rink. The ninth-ranked Panthers improve to 8-2-1 (7-0-1), while the fifth-ranked Lord Jeffs drop to 6-4-2 (5-1-1).

First-year Sara Ugalde broke the scoreless tie 5:35 into the final period and classmate Jennifer Krakower made it 2-0 less than seven minutes later to break the game open.  Maggie Woodward added the finishing touch on an empty-net goal with 0.9 seconds remaining in the game. The two teams will play again tomorrow, with the puck scheduled to drop at 3 p.m. in Orr Rink.

Amherst out-shot Middlebury in the first (13-3) and second (10-7) periods, but things drastically changed when the Panthers put 21 shots on net in the final 20 minutes while allowing the hosts to put only four shots on target.

Friday’s result brought Amherst’s 17-game unbeaten streak at home to a halt (14-0-3), as the Jeffs had not lost at Orr Rink since the Panthers earned a 4-3 overtime win on Mar. 8, 2009 in the NESCAC title game. Middlebury leads the all-time series, 20-5-4, but Amherst holds a 5-2-4 edge in the past 11 meetings.

The teams combined for four penalties in the opening 20 minutes but could not break the scoreless tie thanks to strong goaltending. The best save of the first period came at 11:29 when Amherst’s Geneva Lloyd  ripped a shot that was knocked away by Middlebury backstop Alexi Bloom, who would turn away 13 shots in the frame. Stephanie Clegg  was there for a nice rebound attempt, but Bloom came up with a spectacular glove save to deny the Lord Jeffs of what looked like a sure thing.

Amherst out-shot Middlebury by a 10-7 margin and twice drew a collective sigh from the home crowd on near misses in the second period, but the Lord Jeffs could not find their first goal as the teams headed into the second intermission locked at 0-0.

The third period looked like a different game altogether. Things got started for the Panthers when they sent the puck in from the right side to Ugalde, who had been camped out at the post. Ugalde beat Amherst goaltender Caroline Hu to make it a 1-0 game, with assists going to Jamie Harisiades ’12 and Grace Walters .

The Jeffs hit the post two minutes later, but the Panthers came right back and continued to pepper Hu with shots. Amherst tri-captain Courtney Hanlon saved a goal when she dove in front of a puck that was headed straight for the back of the net, but Krakower stuck with the play and gave Middlebury its 2-0 lead with 7:35 on the clock. Lauren Greer ’13 picked up the assist on Krakower’s goal.

The Panthers had 94 seconds of 5-on-3 hockey late in the third period but did not capitalize, as Amherst’s opponents are now 0-for their last 24 on power play opportunities. With the final seconds ticking away and the game already wrapped up, Woodward put home her empty netter with less than one second to play.

Bloom finished with 27 saves to improve to 6-1-1 for the Panthers, while Hu stopped 28 shots—18 in the third period—and allowed two goals in falling to 4-3-1.