The women’s ice hockey team survived the first round of NESCAC playoffs in a nail-biter overtime win against Trinity.
Amherst entered the weekend with momentum, having won three of its last four games, including a sweep against Wesleyan. The seniors’ last homestand featured major contributions from the class of 2019, including a goal by Jamie McNamara ’19 and two assists by Katelyn Pantera ’19.
In their last four visits, the Mammoths were 3-1 against the Trinity Bantams. However, this game felt anything but one-sided. The first period came and went without a score from either side, while the Bantams outshot Amherst by a margin of 11-6. That Trinity momentum carried into the second period when Karinna Cave-Hawkins took advantage of a 3-on-1 fast break and jammed the puck home just 49 seconds into the second period.
In the third period, the momentum shifted in favor of the Mammoths. Kaitlin Hoang ’21 tied the contest at one apiece after a pass by Jocelyn Hunyadi ’19 led to a quick, lofted backhanded shot over the Trinity goalie’s pads. Trinity then immediately faltered again, as a body-checking penalty would leave the Bantams short-handed. Amherst leapt at the opportunity as Miriam Eickhoff ’19 buried a one-timer just nine seconds into the power play.
Trinity wasn’t out of it yet, as a goal by Cave-Hawkins evened the game with 47 seconds left in regulation. To make matters worse for the Mammoths, a tripping penalty called with 12 seconds left would leave the team short-handed in overtime.
Amherst’s last loss came as a result of being unable to kill penalties, as Hamilton scored two power-play goals in their last game on Feb. 9. Yet, today would not yield the same result. In the remaining 1:50 of the late penalty, Amherst goalie Caitlin Walker ’22 held strong and made four massive saves to keep the Mammoths in the game. Unlike Trinity, Amherst would only need to take a single shot in overtime. McNamara flew down the boards to outskate her defender and managed to sneak the puck over the goal line to seal the victory.
The 3-2 win over Trinity advances fifth-seeded Amherst to the semifinals of the NESCAC playoffs, where they will take on rival and No. 1 seed Williams on the Ephs’ home ice next Saturday. The game is sure to be a bit of an uphill battle, as the Mammoths suffered two losses to Williams during the regular season, outscored by a combined margin of 9-2.