Women’s Hockey Bags Top-10 Win, Quarterfinal Home Ice

The Mammoths closed out a strong final stretch of the season, winning one and drawing one of a pair of matchups with Colby, enough to earn themselves home-field advantage in the first round of the NESCAC playoffs.

The women’s hockey team had a stellar weekend up in Waterville, Maine, as they tied Colby 1-1 on Saturday, Feb. 19 and won 4-1 on Sunday, Feb. 20 to earn the third seed in the upcoming NESCAC tournament. Their recent run of play has set them up with home ice in their quarterfinal game against Bowdoin on Feb. 26. Colby, who was ranked No. 8 in the most recent rankings, could not keep up with the Mammoths, who were able to get three wins and a tie in their last four games to close out the regular season.

While the two games looked very different on the scoresheet, they were equally thrilling. On Saturday, the first period was marked by a quick start for the Mammoths, as Carley Daly ’23 scored off assists from Kate Pohl ’23 and Elizabeth Holubiak ’22 with 7:46 left to give the Mammoths a 1-0 lead heading into the second period. Unfortunately, that lead did not last long, as the Mules responded with a goal from Madi Aumann to even the score up at one apiece.

The third period saw Colby try to capitalize on a slew of opportunities, but their shots were stifled by the great play of Mammoths goaltender Caitlin Walker ’22, keeping the game at 1-1. With a tie against a top-10 opponent in their back pocket, the Mammoths were able to gain both confidence and momentum heading into Sunday’s important contest.

After a low-scoring grudge match on Saturday, the high-flying Sunday contest was an unexpected change of pace for the Mammoths, who were able to dominate the Mules 4-1. The scoring barrage started with Daly once again, who scored only nine seconds into the game. The Mammoths controlled the opening faceoff and quickly made their way up the ice before Pohl connected with Daly for the tally. Colby responded only 52 seconds later with a goal from Meg Rittenhouse to even the score. However, the Mammoths responded with another goal from Alyssa Xu ’25 coming after only another 46 seconds had ticked by to give the Mammoths the lead for good. The first period would end with no more scoring, with the game at 2-1 in favor of Amherst.

No goals were scored in the second period by either team, but the third period saw another offensive explosion from the Mammoths. Pohl started the two-goal spurt with a goal off an Angelina Wiater ’22 pass that deflected off a Mules defender’s skate to give the Mammoths a 3-1 lead. The Mammoths capped off the scoring with another goal from Daly, who converted an empty-netter with 1:30 remaining in the game to make the final score 4-1.

Because of the restrictions that Covid has put on the 2021-22 season, every team in the NESCAC will advance to postseason play. With their recent run of good form, Amherst was able to earn home ice for the quarterfinal round of the tournament, which they will go into as defending champions — the Mammoths won the last edition of the tournament in 2020. The Mammoths will begin their title defense on Saturday, Feb. 26 against Bowdoin, with the puck dropping at 3 p.m..