AMHERST, MA – NESCAC foe Amherst College pulled off a convincing victory Friday evening, downing the visiting Ephs 7-2. Unable to contain the Amherst offense, Williams allowed six goals in the opening two periods before they were able to get on the scoreboard. Despite a late offensive surge and two powerplay goals for the Ephs in the third, Williams would not be able to recover from the lopsided opening 40 minutes of play.
Amherst improved to 9-7-1 (7-3-1 NESCAC) with the win, while Williams fell to 8-10-1 (4-6-1 NESCAC).
The first period proved to be the difference maker Friday night. Amherst jumped out to scorching 4-0 lead after 20 minutes of play. Anne Gillard opened the scoring for the Lord Jeffs. The tally came at the 4:04 mark when Tori Salmon sent the puck to Gillard who was waiting in the slot. Gillard capitalized on the opportunity to give the home team a 1-0 edge.
Building off this potent offensive momentum, Amherst remained relentless and extended their lead once again, cashing in on a powerplay opportunity. Geneva Lloyd fired a shot from the right point and teammate Megan Doyen capitalized on the rebound, redirecting the puck past Eph netminder Chloe Billadeau (Chaska, MN) to give the Jeffs a comfortable 3-0 lead. Ashely Salerno also aided on the tally.
The home team continued to dominate the ice offensively, registering a fourth goal with just under five minutes remaining in the opening frame. Gillard notched her second goal of the evening to make it a four goal gap. She was set up by Salmon and Madeline Tank.
Williams was unable to tame the offensive tirade headed into the middle frame. Despite a pair of impressive saves from Billadeau in the opening minutes of the period, it was only a matter of time before the Jeffs' shots on goal advantage paid off once again. At the 6:41 mark, Barrett McBride sent a slap shot past Billadeau for a 5-0 cushion.
Despite the daunting 6-0 deficit, Williams refused to let up. The Ephs halted the shutout at the 2:24 mark, thanks to a powerplay goal from senior Aimee Dennett (Highlands Ranch, CO). Dennett's first tally of the year was assisted by teammate Caitlin Conlon (Sudbury, MA).
Williams would continue to challenge Amherst goaltender Kerri Stuart, and used the momentum created by Dennett's tally to add a second powerplay goal at the 16:42 mark. The second Eph goal came from sophomore Sam Cutts (Kittery Point, ME), who capitalized on the play from near the right post. Abby Belcrest (Harrison Township, MI) and Dennett were credited with the assists.
"Our best period was the third period. They ended up calling a timeout with 5:31 remaining because we were doing a great job offensively," stated Gillis.
The comeback effort would be curbed with a seventh and final Amherst goal from Lloyd. She finalized the game at 7-2 with a wrister that found its way past Williams goalie Rachel Nguyen (Hermosa Beach, CA). Salmon recorded her third assist of the night on the play.
Stuart concluded the night with 24 stops, while Billadeau recorded 24 saves in her 40 minutes of play. Nguyen turned away five bids during her 20 minutes of work.
The Ephs look to carry tonight's third period momentum into the start of the rematch tomorrow. Gametime is set for 3pm.