Courtesy Middlebury Athletic Communications
MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – Amherst won its first NCAA Women’s Hockey Championship with a 4-3 overtime victory over Elmira in the title game played in Middlebury College’s Kenyon Arena. Kate Dennett scored the game-winner 12:22 into the overtime to lift the Jeffs to the victory. After her first shot was saved driving in on the left wing, Dennett poked in the rebound as it lie just infront of Elmira goaltender Allison Cubberley. Amherst ends its championship season with a record of 24-5, while Elmira falls to 24-5-1.
Elmira controlled the play early, failing on a power play at 8:10, before taking advantage of a five-on-three situation, gaining a 1-0 lead at the 15:21 mark. Jenna McCall gathered the puck just outside the crease and quickly fed Kayla Coady for the redirect goal to give the Soaring Eagles the 1-0 lead. Amherst was held without a shot for the game’s first 16:19, before going on the power play. The period ended with Elmira holding an 8-3 shots advantage and a 1-0 lead. The 11 combined shots are goal in the first period are the fewest ever in a championship game.
Amherst tied the game at the 2:54 mark, as Lindsey Harrington won a face-off back to Courtney Hanlon, who netted her team-leading 19th goal of the season from the top of the right face-off circle.
Amherst goaltender Krystyn Elek made a huge save on Lauryn DePaul 4:30 into the period, keeping it a 1-1 game. The Jeffs went on another power play at the 5:09 mark, but Cubberly made some nice saves to keep the game knotted at one.
Amherst took a 2-1 lead at 15:16 as Emily Vitale sent a puck towards the crease from behind the goal. The puck deflected off a skate to Kate Dennett, who finished to give the Jeffs a 2-1 lead. Elmira had a power play opportunity at the 16:04 mark, but could not score as they entered the intermission with a 2-1 deficit. The Amherst offense came alive in the period, outshooting its opponent 13-7.
Elmira tied the game just 2:29 into the third period as Erika Goodwin found Coady with a long cross-crease pass for the goal. The tally was her 21st of the season and fifth of the NCAA Tournament, a new record. Amherst had a quality opportunity on a power play at 7:41, but Tarasai Karega’s shot on a rebound was denied with a great glove by Cubberly.
Elmira regained the lead at 11:14 as Kathryn Walker’s shot from the top of the right face-off circle deflected off a defender and into the top right corner of the net. Amherst tied the game with 2:18 remaining, after a flurry of offense at the Elmira net. Several shots were saved by Cubberly and a Karega shot hit the post, before Vitale scored on the doorstep to send the game into overtime. Amherst ended regulation with a 26-24 advantage in shots on goal.
Elmira had a quality chance just 20 seconds into overtime, as Jamie Huntley was stopped by Elek breaking in all alone. Amherst went on the power play at 4:53 and then a five-on-three advantage for 1:03, but were unable to score. The Jeffs took six shots during the power play, with two going on net.
Elek ended the night with 25 saves in goal for the Jeffs, while Cubberley made 28 saves for the Soaring Eagles. Elek, Dennet, Kirsten Dier and Lindsey Harrington were named to the All-Tournament team for Amherst, as were Coady and Jamie Kivi for Elmira.