Feb 28, 2019
HADLEY, Mass. – The top-seeded Williams Ephs will host the remaining rounds of the NESCAC Women’s Ice Hockey Championship for the second time in program history. The semifinals are set for Saturday, March 2 with the Ephs hosting No. 5 Amherst at 1 p.m. and No. 2 Middlebury facing No. 3 Hamilton at 4 p.m. The winners will meet in the NESCAC Championship game at 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 3 at Williams.
Tickets can be purchased at the door and are $6 for adults and $3 for students/senior citizens/children. Children under two-years-old are free. Please also note no dogs will be allowed inside the athletic facility or rink.
Both semifinal games, as well as the championship game, will be streamed online via the Northeast Sports Network (NSN) at NESCAC.com. The games will also be available on Roku, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire, search for ‘NESCAC Network’ and download the channel.
Williams (18-4-3) shut out No. 8 Wesleyan, 3-0, to advance to the NESCAC Semifinals for the first time since 2014, the last time the Ephs hosted the remaining rounds of the tournament. NESCAC Player of the Year Meghan Halloran netted a power-play goal and had an assist in the contest. Halloran, a sophomore, leads the NESCAC in points (34), goals (17), and assists (17). She also has 15 power-play points (7-8-15) for the Ephs who are the top scoring team in the league on the power play. First-year netminder Chloe Heiting and defender Brynn Puppe, two All-NESCAC honorees, anchor the defense for the Ephs. Puppe, a sophomore, ranks second in scoring among NESCAC defenders with 13 points (5-8-13). Heiting has 15 wins in net for the Ephs and carries a 1.28 goals against average along with a .944 save percentage into the weekend. Williams is averaging 2.84 goals per game to lead the NESCAC and ranks third in goals allowed (38).
Amherst (13-10-2) advanced to the semifinals for the fifth straight year and 12th time in 13 seasons following a 3-2 overtime victory at No. 4 Trinity. Senior Jocelyn Hunyadi, an All-NESCAC selection, leads the Mammoths in scoring with 22 points on seven goals and 15 assists. Amherst enters the semifinals having won three straight games and four of its last five contests. First-year Caitlin Walker has played 21 games in net for the Mammoths, posting a 1.95 goals against average and a .931 save percentage. Amherst owns the top penalty kill unit in the league.
The Ephs swept the Mammoths during the regular season, winning 4-0 and 5-2, in a home-and-home series. In the NESCAC postseason, Amherst owns a 2-0 advantage over the Ephs. The two teams met in last year’s quarterfinal, with the Mammoths earning a 5-2 victory. Williams won its lone NESCAC title in 2014, and will be looking to advance to the championship game for the third time in program history. Amherst has played in the NESCAC final the past three years and looks to win its first title since 2010.
The second semifinal features No. 2 Middlebury (15-7-3) versus No. 3 Hamilton (16-7-2). The Panthers, the three-time defending champions, are in the semifinals for the 17th time in 18 years after a furious comeback rally led to a 3-2 overtime win against No. 7 Connecticut College. Down 2-0, Middlebury scored twice in the final 37 seconds of regulation to force overtime. Sophomore Madie Leidt, an All-NESCAC performer, knocked in the game-winning goal 2:23 into overtime to lift the Panthers to the victory. Leidt ranks third in the conference in scoring with 23 points on 10 goals and 13 assists and has a league-leading five game-winning tallies. Senior Jenna Marotta, another All-NESCAC selection for the Panthers, is the top scoring defender in the NESCAC with 16 points on four goals and 12 assists. Junior Lin Han has seen action in 14 games and has a .940 save percentage to go along with a 1.27 goals against average, while sophomore Anna Goldstein has played in 11 games and carries a 1.20 goals against average with a .947 save percentage. The Panthers are holding opponents to a league-low 1.32 goals per game and the penalty kill unit ranks second in the league.
Hamilton is in the semifinals for the first time since 2007 and the fourth time overall. The Continentals defeated Colby, 3-1. First-year Gab Venne made a season-high 40 saves and three different players scored in the victory. First-year Nancy Loh, the NESCAC Rookie of the Year, is Hamilton’s top scorer with 25 points on 10 goals and 15 assists. Senior Taegan Blackwell was an All-NESCAC selection for the Continentals as a defender and has contributed 10 points from the blue line this season. Venne enters the game with the top save percentage among NESCAC goaltenders at .955 to go along with a 1.17 goals against average. The Continentals have the second-best power-play unit in the league and are averaging 2.56 goals per game.
Middlebury is 3-0 against Hamilton in NESCAC Tournament play. The teams last met in the 2015 quarterfinals with the Panthers earning a 3-2 victory. Middlebury defeated Hamilton, 4-1 and 3-2, to sweep the regular season series. The Panthers are looking to advance to the championship game for the fifth straight year and claim the NESCAC title for the fourth consecutive season. Hamilton is looking to advance to the NESCAC final for the first time in program history.
Results for the NESCAC Women’s Ice Hockey Championship will be available at the completion of each day at NESCAC.com.