Over the Thanksgiving Break, the defending NESCAC women's ice hockey champions opened their season at 2-2, falling twice to Hamilton College before decisive wins against Manhattanville College and Johnson & Wales University.
The Mammoths had a challenging start to their season, falling to Hamilton College in the third period of their game on Saturday, Nov. 20 by a score of 3-1. This was Amherst’s first game back on the ice since March 2020, as their 2020-21 season was canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Being back on the ice is great, and we are really excited to finally be playing games with each other,” Anna Baxter ’25 said. “We didn’t play together for months [which is a long time] compared to other teams in the conference, so we are still feeling things out.”
The teams started the game with two scoreless periods, with play going back and forth and no team gaining steady momentum. However, the tie was broken when All-American goalie Caitlin Walker ’22 started the play that would lead to the team’s first goal of the season. Elizabeth Holubiak ’22 passed the puck to Carley Daly ’23, who took it from the defensive end all the way up the ice, going coast-to-coast to score the first goal of the game.
The lead for the Mammoths didn’t last long. The Continentals quickly fired back, scoring two goals seconds apart from one another. Hamilton’s Allie Curry made the game even, then just 17 seconds later, Abby Smith fired and scored as well, giving the Continentals the lead. Curry put another one in the net at the 14:29 mark to secure the game for the Continentals. Overall, Walker made 28 saves for Amherst in the contest. Daly scored the Mammoth’s lone goal, while having three shots on goal. In the contest, Holubiak had one assist and five shots on goal. Junior Kate Pohl ’23 had four shots on goal during the first game of the season.
The Mammoths had a second opportunity against the Continentals on Sunday, Nov. 21, but they saw history repeat itself, falling 2-0. The Continentals took the lead in the game’s second period, where they scored both of their goals.
Continentals junior Nancy Loh made the score 1-0, putting a shot in the bottom-right corner. This was Loh’s first goal of the season. Later in the period, the Continentals took advantage of the power-play opportunity and Abby Kuhns found sophomore Clarie McGennis who tipped the puck in the net to widen the gap to 2-0.
But the Mammoths couldn’t find the back of the net, they held a 36-23 advantage in shots on goal. Continentals goaltender Sidney Molnar recorded a career high in saves in the game, saving all 36 shots that the Mammoths took.
The hockey team had a double header the following weekend, on Nov. 27 and Nov. 28, where they looked to rebound from their first losses of the season.
The team first hosted Manhattanville College in their home opener at Orr Rink. The Mammoths stepped up their play from the previous weekend, finding their groove in a decisive 7-3 win on Saturday afternoon with many first-years earning the first goals of their Amherst careers.
Amherst had seven different players score seven goals. The Mammoths started the game dominant, notching four goals in the first period, while limiting their opponents to only one.
Gia Servalli ’25 scored the first goal for the Mammoths at the 6:04 mark. Baxter and Alyssa Xu ’25 assisted Servalli’s goal. This was Servalli’s first collegiate goal, as well as Baxter’s and Xu’s first collegiate points.
Though the Mammoths took the lead early on, the Valiants quickly answered back, making the score 1-1 just shortly after the Mammoths scored.
To take the lead back, Ellie DeCarlo ’24 put a goal in the back of the net off of a perfectly placed pass in front of the net by Leslie Schwartz ’23. But the Mammoths didn’t stop there, building their lead with a firing shot from Sydney Raaths ’25, her first collegiate goal.
Daly scored the Mammoth’s final goal of the first period, giving the team a three-goal lead. It was Daly’s second goal of the season.
The Mammoths came out hungry in the second period, wanting to make the lead more definitive. They accomplished just that when Rylee Glennon ’24 beat the goaltender on a two-on-one, giving the Mammoths yet another goal and scoring her first collegiate goal.
The team did not become complacent after taking the lead; Holubiak took advantage of the power play, putting the Mammoths up 6-1
The team’s final goal of the game came from Baxter, who took the advantage to score on another power-play opportunity. This was Baxter’s first collegiate goal and second point of the game.
Of the game and the team’s improvement, Baxter said,“We are really starting to work well together and finish on our chances. We are [also] definitely taking more advantage of our opportunities.”
Despite the Mammoth’s decisive lead, the Valiants continued to fight back. Grace Genest snuck one past the Mammoths in the last minute of the second period, giving her her second goal of the season.
The third period was scoreless for the Mammoths, but Manhattanville took advantage of the time on the ice and Annie Niedermier put one in to make the final score 7-3.
The Mammoths led the contest in shots on goal with 45 compared to the Valiants' 11. Amherst took more shots in the first two periods, and in the final period, Amherst and Manhattanville were even with four shots each.
Johnson & Wales University
The Mammoths clinched another victory Sunday afternoon, coming on top 4-1 against Johnson & Wales.
Xu, Baxter, Stephanie Nomicos ’22 and Jayna Park ’24 each had a goal, with all four coming in the first and third periods of the game. Xu and Park’s goals were their first goals as part of the Amherst team.
Xu gave the Mammoths the lead when she took advantage of their first power-play of the game, knocking in a rebound given up by the Wildcats’ goalie.
The Mammoths kept their 1-0 lead until the Wildcats tied the game, also scoring on a power-play. Late in the second period, Haylee Owen from Johnson & Wales struck a shot from the front of the net, making it a tied game.
The Mammoths then capitalized on two more power-play opportunities in the final period. Baxter scored to give the Mammoths the lead, making it 2-1. Nomicos added another point for the Mammoths in the third period, putting a goal on the scoreboard off of yet another power-play opportunity.
Amherst secured their win with a fourth and final goal from Park, her first collegiate goal.
The Mammoths held the advantage in shots on goal, taking 37 shots compared to the Wildcats’ seven.
The team is now 2-2 after a strong weekend against two non-conference opponents.
“The team atmosphere is awesome,” Baxter said, “and we are starting to find good chemistry on the ice.”
The Mammoths return to the ice later this week, hosting the Middlebury Panthers for a two-game series on Friday, Dec. 3, at 7:00 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 4, at 3:00 p.m.