MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – The Connecticut College women's ice hockey team fell to Amherst by a 3-1 score in the semifinal round of the NESCAC Tournament at Kenyon Arena on Saturday afternoon.
Freshman Mairi Anthony (Stoneham, Mass.) tried to put the Camels on the board first when she fired back-to-back shots which were saved by goalie Bailey Plaman in the seven minute of the game. Amherst (16-6-4) then capitalized at the 11:15 mark when Miriam Eickoff won the puck in the defensive end and passed it up to Natalie Lima on the right side. Lima wristed a shot that was tipped in by Eickoff to give the Mammoths a 1-0 lead.
The Mammoths then seized control by getting a pair of goals just 2:01 apart which came off the stick of Alex Toupal, who led the league in scoring this winter. The senior wristed a shot inside the left post at the 18:50 mark of the second period to double the margin before adding insurance just 51 seconds into the third when she backhanded a shot that made its way around the pad of goalie Bailey Mertz (Glenville, N.Y.).
After a tipped shot attempt by junior Elena Gualtieri (Rome, N.Y.) was saved by Plaman, Connecticut College got on the board at the 18:29 mark of the second period on a power play. Lauren Helm (Frisco, Texas) collected a shot attempt taken by senior Katlyn Paiva (Rehoboth, Mass.) which was blocked and wristed the puck into the right side of the net.
The Camels outshot the Mammoths by a 16-1 margin in the third period and had numerous opportunities to close the deficit. The team unleashed six shots in a row around the 8:30 mark, but three were saved and the others were off target. Paiva most notably had two strong scoring opportunities when she backhanded a shot at the 10:19 mark and then attempted another one from inside the slot with under three minutes remaining. Plaman, however, held her ground and turned aside everything in her path to allow the Mammoths to advance to tomorrow's championship game against top-seeded Middlebury.
Plaman made 36 saves between the pipes to pick up the victory for Amherst, which was outshot by a 37-19 margin in the contest and 28-6 over the final two periods. Mertz stopped 16 shots for the Camels.
Connecticut College (15-6-5) matched a school record by winning 15 games for the third straight season. The program graduates five seniors and is slated to return more than 20 letterwinners next season, which includes its top scorer and starting goalie.