Women’s hockey: Amherst, Hamilton set for fourth meeting in NCAA D3 semifinal

  • Amherst College goaltender Natalie Stott (1) keeps her eye on the attacking Colby College offense in the first period of the NCAA Division 3 quarterfinals last weekend at Orr Rink in Amherst. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Staff Writer 
Published: 3/16/2023 2:35:10 PM

The Amherst College women’s hockey team is one game away from the NCAA Division 3 championship game, and if they want to get there, the Mammoths (25-3-0) will have to go through a familiar NESCAC foe. 

Amherst’s semifinal opponent is Hamilton (22-5-2), a team they’ve faced three times already this season.

The semifinals will take place on Friday at Orr Rink in Amherst, as Amherst College is hosting the semifinals and championship for the first time in program history. The first semifinal between Plattsburgh State (26-2-0) and Gustavus Adolphus (25-3-0) begins at 3 p.m., and the second semi between Amherst and Hamilton starts at 7 p.m. The two winners will play for the championship on Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m.

The Mammoths and Continentals first clashed in the opening series of the regular season, splitting the weekend with a pair of shutouts. Amherst earned a 4-0 win in the first game and Hamilton came back with a 2-0 victory the next day.

The two teams met again roughly four months later in the NESCAC title game, which Amherst won handily 5-0. That game was just two weeks ago, and now they’ll clash again with significantly more on the line. 

This is Hamilton’s first time in the NCAA tournament, and its meeting with Amherst in the conference championship was also the first time it had played for a NESCAC title. 

Amherst will rely on its stingy defense against Hamilton, which has propelled it through both the NESCAC and NCAA tournaments. Starting goaltender Natalie Stott has allowed just one goal over the last seven games, and the team’s defense and penalty kill have both been rock solid during that same time.

Hamilton is also a team that doesn’t allow many goals – the Mammoths lead the NESCAC in fewest goals allowed with 0.93 per game, and Hamilton is right behind them with 1.31 allowed per outing. 

It will likely be a battle of first years on Friday night – Stott has been Amherst’s go-to goalie in net in her first season, posting an NCAA-best 13 shutouts and a fifth-best save percentage in all of Division 3 (.952). Hamilton freshman Evie Sheridan leads the Continentals with five shutouts and a .913 save percentage. 

The Mammoths lead the NESCAC in nearly every statistical category. Though Hamilton is one of just three teams that has handed Amherst a loss this season, that defeat came in the first series of the season. Either team could run into a hot goaltender – both Sheridan and Stott are capable of stealing games. Hamilton will want revenge for its NESCAC title game loss, but Amherst is ready to fight for its first NCAA title since 2010. It will come down to which team shows up Friday ready to play.

Ticket prices for Friday semifinal games are $15 for Adults and $10 for Students/Seniors, $7 for children under 12. There will be no advance sales. Tickets sales will begin at the door one hour prior to the first semifinal on Friday at 2 p.m. Tickets are cash only.

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