Women’s hockey: OT goal sinks Amherst College in NCAA quarterfinal loss to Elmira (PHOTOS)

Amherst College’s Gretchen Dann (3) fights for the puck against Elmira College goalie Chloe Beaubien (33) and defender Lexi Hoffmann (15) in the third period of the NCAA quarterfinals Saturday afternoon at Orr Rink.

Amherst College’s Gretchen Dann (3) fights for the puck against Elmira College goalie Chloe Beaubien (33) and defender Lexi Hoffmann (15) in the third period of the NCAA quarterfinals Saturday afternoon at Orr Rink. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Amherst College’s Alyssa Xu (15) fires a shot against Elmira College in the second period of the NCAA quarterfinals Saturday afternoon at Orr Rink.

Amherst College’s Alyssa Xu (15) fires a shot against Elmira College in the second period of the NCAA quarterfinals Saturday afternoon at Orr Rink. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Amherst College’s Alyssa Xu (15) wraps a shot around Elmira College goalie Chloe Beaubien (33) that missed just wide of the net in the third period of the NCAA quarterfinals Saturday afternoon at Orr Rink.

Amherst College’s Alyssa Xu (15) wraps a shot around Elmira College goalie Chloe Beaubien (33) that missed just wide of the net in the third period of the NCAA quarterfinals Saturday afternoon at Orr Rink. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Amherst College’s Alyssa Xu (15) celebrates after scoring against Elmira College in the third period of the NCAA quarterfinals Saturday afternoon at Orr Rink.

Amherst College’s Alyssa Xu (15) celebrates after scoring against Elmira College in the third period of the NCAA quarterfinals Saturday afternoon at Orr Rink. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Amherst College’s Alyssa Xu (15) celebrates after scoring against Elmira College in the third period of the NCAA quarterfinals Saturday afternoon at Orr Rink.

Amherst College’s Alyssa Xu (15) celebrates after scoring against Elmira College in the third period of the NCAA quarterfinals Saturday afternoon at Orr Rink. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Amherst College’s Alyssa Xu (15) maneuvers the puck against Elmira College’s Anna Lugge (21) in the first period of the NCAA quarterfinals Saturday afternoon at Orr Rink.

Amherst College’s Alyssa Xu (15) maneuvers the puck against Elmira College’s Anna Lugge (21) in the first period of the NCAA quarterfinals Saturday afternoon at Orr Rink. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Amherst College’s Ellie DeCarlo (8) fights for the puck against Elmira College’s Madi Morton (18) in the second period of the NCAA quarterfinals Saturday afternoon at Orr Rink.

Amherst College’s Ellie DeCarlo (8) fights for the puck against Elmira College’s Madi Morton (18) in the second period of the NCAA quarterfinals Saturday afternoon at Orr Rink. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Amherst College’s Maeve Reynolds (9) maneuvers the puck between Elmira College’s Katie Manning (9) and Sophie Gregory (24) in the third period of the NCAA quarterfinals Saturday afternoon at Orr Rink.

Amherst College’s Maeve Reynolds (9) maneuvers the puck between Elmira College’s Katie Manning (9) and Sophie Gregory (24) in the third period of the NCAA quarterfinals Saturday afternoon at Orr Rink. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Amherst College’s Rylee Glennon (22) fires a shot against Elmira College in the second period of the NCAA quarterfinals Saturday afternoon at Orr Rink.

Amherst College’s Rylee Glennon (22) fires a shot against Elmira College in the second period of the NCAA quarterfinals Saturday afternoon at Orr Rink. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Amherst College’s Ellie DeCarlo (8) battles for the puck against Elmira College’s Lexi Hoffmann (15) in the second period of the NCAA quarterfinals Saturday afternoon at Orr Rink.

Amherst College’s Ellie DeCarlo (8) battles for the puck against Elmira College’s Lexi Hoffmann (15) in the second period of the NCAA quarterfinals Saturday afternoon at Orr Rink. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Amherst College’s Anna Baxter (16) fires a shot against Elmira College in the second period of the NCAA quarterfinals Saturday afternoon at Orr Rink.

Amherst College’s Anna Baxter (16) fires a shot against Elmira College in the second period of the NCAA quarterfinals Saturday afternoon at Orr Rink. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

CONNOR PIGNATELLO

Staff Writer

Published: 03-09-2024 9:04 PM

Modified: 03-09-2024 9:29 PM


AMHERST – A once-promising season for the Amherst College women’s hockey team ended in a home ice overtime loss for the second straight year, as the Mammoths fell 2-1 to Elmira in the NCAA Division III quarterfinals Saturday afternoon at Orr Rink.

Emily Lenzen buried a long-range shot into the bottom corner at the near pipe with 10:09 remaining in overtime to give Elmira the upset victory and rob Amherst of a chance to face NESCAC rival Middlebury in the Final Four. 

Amherst (21-4-2) finished the regular season with only two losses, one fewer than last year’s campaign that saw the Mammoths win the NESCAC and reach the national championship game, only to lose 2-1 in triple overtime.

Amherst earned the top seed in this year’s NESCAC tournament, but fell to No. 4 seed Hamilton 2-1 in the semifinals. On Saturday afternoon, the Mammoths lost their second straight game by the exact same score. They outshot their opponents by a combined 79-47 margin across the two games.

“I told them it’s hard for it to end because the year was so much fun,” Amherst head coach Jeff Matthews said. “Here we are in March, and I don’t want it to end.”

While Amherst was ranked third in the final USCHO regular season poll, Elmira received just a single vote and was unranked. The Soaring Eagles had to win three games in the NEHCC tournament and then upset No. 7 Cortland on the road in the NCAA first round to reach Amherst, which received a bye to the quarterfinals. In the USCHO’s most recent poll on March 4, Amherst was ranked fifth and Elmira 14th. The Soaring Eagles were the only team ranked outside the top eight to reach the NCAA quarterfinals.

Neither team scored in the game’s opening period, though the Mammoths earned four power plays and outshot the Soaring Eagles 15-6. Elmira finally broke through at the 13:17 mark in the second period on a goal from Emma Bradbury, who tallied her second goal in as many NCAA Tournament games.

Despite Amherst’s edge in shots throughout the game, Elmira’s defense held strong for the rest of the second period and most of the third. Elmira goalie Chloe Beaubien finished with 43 saves, almost double her previous season-high.

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The Mammoths finally got on the scoresheet on their fifth power play opportunity of the game with less than seven minutes remaining in regulation. After passes from Rylee Glennon and Anna Baxter, Alyssa Xu tapped in the equalizer at the far pipe.

“It was a tremendous hockey game,” Matthews said. “An outstanding hockey game. Probably the best of the year, the most intense, fast-paced.”

Amherst secured a sixth power play with only a few minutes remaining, but Elmira killed it without much difficulty and the game went to overtime.

Just like in regulation, Amherst outshot Elmira in the extra session. The Mammoths forced Beaubien to make seven saves in overtime, including a few in quick succession in the opening minutes. But for the second straight year, Amherst’s championship aspirations were cut short by a sudden-death winner.

“Last year in the national championship, we all thought about it this season,” Glennon said. “Every time we had a bad skate, you thought about that triple overtime.”

Amherst won’t get redemption in this year’s championship game. And it won’t get to face NESCAC champs Middlebury, which it beat 4-0 and tied 1-1 in two regular season meetings. After losing just twice in 23 regular season games, Amherst lost both of its postseason matchups by a single goal.

“There’s a lot of tips in hockey, a lot of bounces here and there,” Glennon said. “We worked hard, we came back in both games, we got a goal late in the period. Last game against Hamilton we had a goal late in the third too. So, it’s hard to say, it’s a lot of bounces but we always fight back. You never know how the tables are going to turn at the end.”