Women’s hockey: Familiar foe awaits Amherst College in NCAA Division 3 quarterfinals

  • Amherst College forward Alyssa Xu (15) celebrates after scoring against Hamilton College in the second period of the NESCAC championship last weekend at Orr Rink in Amherst. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Amherst College forward Jayna Park (19) moves the puck against Hamilton College’s Hyla Mosher (14) in the second period of the NESCAC championship last weekend at Orr Rink in Amherst. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Staff Writer
Published: 3/10/2023 4:49:39 PM

Of all the schools the Amherst College women’s hockey team could have drawn for its NCAA Division 3 Tournament quarterfinal game, the Mammoths sure got an interesting opponent.

No. 1 Amherst will host No. 10 Colby, which upset No. 9 in Norwich in the first round of the tournament, on Saturday at 3 p.m. at Orr Rink in Amherst. The Mules cruised to a 5-2 victory thanks to a three-goal first period on Wednesday night. 

The Mammoths finished the 2022-23 regular season with just three losses. One of those was an early-season defeat to Hamilton, which qualified for the NCAA tournament as an at-large team and could face Amherst if both teams win their quarterfinal games. Another was a late loss to Williams in the team’s final regular season series.

The third? A one-goal loss to Colby. The two teams split their series this season, with Amherst taking a 3-2 OT win before Colby stormed back for a 5-4 victory the following day. 

Considering the Mammoths lost to just three schools all year long, it’s a bit of irony to draw one of them in the quarterfinals. That said, this Amherst team is still a top seed in the tournament and has both talent and experience driving the way.

The Mammoths won the NESCAC championship behind three straight shutouts from goalie Natalie Stott, the first time in history that a NESCAC team did not allow a single goal during its tournament run. It was also the team’s second NESCAC title over the last three seasons. They’re tied for the second-best penalty kill in the country (.956), and Stott leads the nation in shutouts (13). 

The Mammoths last qualified for the tournament back in 2020, where they fell to Norwich in the opening round. Amherst has flirted with the NCAA tournament over the last decade, but they’ve had trouble getting wins in the Big Dance – the last three times they appeared in the NCAA tourney (2020, 2016, 2012), they were knocked out in the opening round. The last time they won an NCAA game came back in 2010, when they won their second of back-to-back national titles. 

The winner of Saturday’s quarterfinal game will play either Hamilton or Adrian in the semifinals the following weekend. Ticket Prices for Saturday’s game at Orr Rink is $6 for adults, $4 for Students/Seniors and $3 for Children 12 and Under. Tickets will be available at the door only and will be cash only. 

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