Women’s hockey: Natalie Stott records another shutout as Amherst blanks Hamilton 2-0, punches national title-game ticket (PHOTOS)

By HANNAH BEVIS 

Staff Writer 

Published: 03-18-2023 12:36 AM

AMHERST – As the clock ticked down the final seconds, the Amherst College women’s hockey team started to realize what exactly it had accomplished. 

Playing in front of a packed house on their home ice in the NCAA Division 3 semifinals, the Mammoths earned a 2-0 win against NESCAC foe Hamilton on Friday night. The victory punched their ticket to the national championship game, the first time that Amherst has been to the title game since it won it all back in 2010. 

“Our group is just so close, so getting to play the maximum amount of games possible for us is definitely an amazing feeling,” Amherst goalie Natalie Stott said. “We have a really great team culture and we're a big family. Getting to go as far as we can is definitely a really great feeling, but we're not done yet.” 

Stott recorded her fifth consecutive shutout, stopping all 18 shots she faced; the first year still hasn’t allowed a goal in any postseason play and has shut out her opponents for over 334 consecutive minutes. Her win on Friday also tied the Division 3 record for most shutouts in a single season with 14. 

Perhaps her biggest moment of the night was a penalty shot chance that Hamilton got 9:05 into the middle frame. With Amherst up 1-0, Hamilton had a chance to tie the game when an Amherst player covered the puck in the crease during a scrum. Stott went toe-to-toe with Nancy Loh and made a left pad save to keep the Continentals scoreless. 

“I was standing with some of my teammates right before they made the call and I was like, ‘It's fine, if they get a shot I'll just save it,’” Stott said. “I love breakaways. I'm not so sure other people watching like it, (I’m sure) my parents weren’t liking it… It was kind of scary, but I was excited to get the chance to make that save.” 

Stott and her defense had to be solid against a Hamilton team looking for revenge. The two teams met less than two weeks prior in the NESCAC championship game. Amherst skated away with a 5-0 victory then, but it knew to expect more from the Continentals this go-around. 

The Mammoths had a pair of chances to take an early lead in the first period with two power plays. Despite getting some good looks on both PPs, the Continentals shut down both chances. 

Article continues after...

Yesterday's Most Read Articles

Northampton school spending advocates eye ‘mountain of cash’ in reserves; city officials warn of slippery slope
Pot company to pay $350K fine over worker’s death at Holyoke plant
Area property deed transfers, June 20
Hampshire College to cut benefits as enrollment for next school year comes in below projections
Plainfield man, 55, dies in crash
Belchertown voters resoundingly strike down override for new middle school

By the end of the first period, Amherst was outshooting Hamilton 9-2, but it felt like a much closer game than that. The Mammoths had to weather a couple of surges from the Continental, with the defense doing a strong job of breaking up passes and steering shots clear of Stott in net. 

The top line duo of Carley Daly and Maeve Reynolds teamed up for Amherst’s first goal of the night just nine seconds into the second period. Daly drove towards the net and sent a cross-crease pass right to the tape of Reynolds’ stick, who buried the puck into an empty net for a 1-0 lead. 

“Carley did a lot of the work there. She was the one that brought it down into the zone and took it to the net. And I was able to put in the puck when it was sitting with an empty net,” Reynolds said on her goal. “She’s one of the fastest players I’ve played with.” 

After Reynolds goal, the Mammoths defense had to play lights out for the remainder of the game. Despite Amherst outshooting Hamilton 31-18, the Continentals made every shot count. Besides Loh’s penalty shot, Stott had to make another breakaway save later in the game, and the Mammoths had to kill off four Hamilton power plays. 

“The D corps is really close and really strong. We really know how to feed off each other and a big part of our D game is just selling the body, making sure you're blocking shots,” senior Leslie Schwartz said. “It’s a crucial part of the game, so just remembering that and knowing Natalie is behind us in net helps the mindset a lot. It keeps us calm.” 

The game stayed a one-goal contest until late in the third period. Hamilton pulled their netminder Evie Sheridan with a minute and 40 seconds left in the game, but it took Schwartz just 18 seconds to get the puck over to Rylee Glennon, who sealed the win with an empty-net goal. 

AWARDS SEASON 

Besides Stott stopping every shot she’s faced over the last couple of weeks, the first year has been accumulating a serious amount of accolades. 

Stott was named to the First Team All-NESCAC and the NESCAC Rookie of the Year. Beyond the conference honors, Stott was also recently named a First Team East All-American, an award presented by CCM Hockey and voted on by the American Hockey Coaches Association. 

Stott was the only freshman to be named a First Team All-American. 

GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS 2, PLATTSBURGH STATE 1 (2OT) 

In the first semifinal of the day, Gustavus Adolphus and Plattsburgh State needed more than 80 minutes to decide a winner. 

Just under seven minutes into 2OT, Lily Mortensen collected a drop pass and fired a shot that beat Plattsburgh goaltender Ashley Davis to give the Gusties a 3-2 win. 

“The whole thing was crazy. Sophie came up made a really nice play, gave me a beautiful drop pass and I just tried to let it go as fast as I could because the goalie was playing great,” Mortensen said. “It was kind of overwhelming after I scored it.” 

This is Gustavus Adolphus’ second consecutive time in the NCAA title game; they lost last year’s game to Middlebury 3-2 after scoring with .1 second remaining to force OT. 

Amherst and Gustavus will meet on Sunday at 3 p.m. in the national title game in Amherst.

Hannah Bevis can be reached at hbevis@gazettenet.com. Follow her on Twitter @Hannah_Bevis1. 

]]>