NEW LONDON, Conn.--The Connecticut College women's hockey program was on the rise for a while, now it's moving closer to the top. The Camels, who made their first post-season appearance in 2004 as the #7 seed, put the finishing touches on a historic regular season by clinching the second seed with the chance of claiming the top spot in the NESCAC Championship with their 5-1 victory against a dangerous Hamilton College squad at Dayton Arena today.
The Camels (14-7-3, 10-5-1 NESCAC) know they will be hosting a NESCAC Quarterfinal next Saturday in New London with their highest seeding in program history. The Continentals (14-7-3, 9-5-2) have to feel good about returning home to the Empire State next weekend for a home playoff game of their own.
Connecticut College was honoring its seven seniors today: Cassie Hunter (Gilford, N.H.), Ashley Anctil (pictured, Manchester, N.H.), Lauren Bishop (Wellesley, Mass.), Steph Izzi (Salley, S.C.), Julie Beattie (Livonia, Mich.), Michaela Igo (Sandwich, Mass.) and Katherine Chester (Mendham, N.J.).
Anctil potted the 27th goal of her career as a part of a three-goal eruption for the Camels in the second period that was capped by Izzi's 36th collegiate marker on the power play with 7:51 to go in the frame. Hunter posted her 20th assist and 30th career point while Beattie contributed with her 25th assist and 39th career point in the triumph. Chester made 21 saves on 22 shots in another terrific effort in the cage.
Hamilton College sophomore Emily Williams (Fallbrook, Calif.) potted her fifth goal of the season that evened the score at one with 1:55 remaining in the opening period. Taegan Blackwell (Fairfield, Conn.) assisted on the score. Sam Walther (Gambrills, Md.) made 27 saves today to finish with 58 stops in the two-game series.
Connecticut College held a 32-to-22 advantage on the shot chart. Hamilton was 0-for-3 on its power play while the Camels finished 1-for-3.
Michel put the Camels on top 10:41 into regulation. With an odd women rush and a convoy of Camels entering the Hamilton zone, Michel took care of business on her own, making a nice fake to the wing, flicking in a wrist shot from the slot to put the hosts on top. Hamilton scored the equalizer just 1:55 before the intermission. Blackwell made a nice wraparound move from behind the cage and made a nice feed out in front to Williams, who tapped one in.
The Camels took the lead for good when Anctil redirected a shot from Hunter and tipped one past Walther at the 3:13 mark of the second period. Michel earned the second assist on the goal that proved to be the difference maker. Estes added some insurance with her fourth goal of the season with 12:47 to play. Izzi broke the game open with 7:51 to go in the second, when she beat a pair of Hamilton defenders near the left circle and unloaded with her eighth goal of the season on the power play. Connolly closed out the scoring when she rifled home her second score of the season from the right circle with 9:40 remaining in regulation.