On Friday night, Amherst traveled to Hartford, Conn. to avenge a Jan. 18 loss to NESCAC foe Trinity College.
The Bantams jumped out to an early lead 4:51 into the first period. The score remained 1-0 heading into the second period when co-captain forward Danielle Williams ’03 asserted her senior leadership. She broke through the Bantam defense to score her sixth goal of the season, at 5:09, and then assisted on sophomore Alicia Pichard’s goal just minutes later. Williams has enjoyed a fine senior season, leading the Jeffs in both goals (seven) and assists (eight).
Things got even better for the visitors when forward Leah Kaplan ’06 extended the Jeff lead to 3-1 with an unassisted goal early in the third period.
The Amherst defense, however, could not sustain the lead. The Bantams, who had just 12 shots through the first two periods, peppered co-captain goalie Heidi Alexander ’03 with 11 more in the third. Trinity forward Tara Borawski, tallied twice in the third period to tie up the score, sending the game into overtime.
Despite a power play in the extra session and three shots on goal, the Jeffs did not score, and the game ended in a 3-3 tie.
The next day Amherst again took to the road for another NESCAC match-up at Little III-rival Wesleyan University. Despite a valiant effort, the Jeffs fell to the Cardinals, 5-2.
Things began well enough for Amherst, as veteran forward Tory Serues ’04 netted her fifth goal of the year to take the Jeffs to an early lead. However, the Cardinals struck back with three consecutive goals to grab a 3-1 edge in the first period.
A goal by Williams late in the second period cut the deficit to one. However, the Cardinals scored moments later and re-established their two-goal lead.
Amherst was unable to score in the third period, and Wesleyan put in one more goal on an empty net to secure their victory.
Amherst, 1-9-3 in ECAC play, is one of four teams battling for the final two playoff spots. Wesleyan and Trinity each have six points, and are currently in better position to make the playoffs. Amherst currently has five points. Connecticut College has four points, with six ECAC games left to play in the regular season. For Amherst to qualify for post-season play, they’ll have to stay ahead of Conn. and overtake either Wesleyan or Trinity College. It’s a difficult task, but certainly doable.
Throughout the 2002-2003 campaign, the Jeffs have maintained their enthusiasm and confidence. “The team is great, everyone gets along,” said Kaplan, the team’s third-leading scorer. “That has helped keep the mood up a lot during the season, especially one that has been as tough as ours.” Kaplan even went so far as to guarantee a playoff berth. “No one should rule us out yet,” she said, “because there is no way we are not going to make the playoffs.”
In addition to their busy ECAC schedule, the Jeffs played a non-conference game last Wednesday against Holy Cross. Despite an early lead, Amherst lost, 5-2. Forward Ali White ’04 scored both goals for Amherst, her first two of the season.
This Saturday night, Amherst plays host to SUNY-Plattsburgh in the first match of a six-game home stand. The Jeffs are hoping that the home-ice advantage will help them break a seven-game losing streak. With just three ECAC games left, Amherst cannot afford to struggle any longer if they want to make a run for the playoffs.