MIDDLEBURY, Vermont – Amherst scored two goals in the second period and added an empty-net tally in the final minutes for a 3-0 victory over Connecticut College in the NESCAC Semifinals. The Purple & White will play top-seeded Middlebury in Sunday's NESCAC Championship in Kenyon Arena at 2:00 p.m., as the Panthers advanced to the title game with a 3-1 win in the day's first game over fourth-seeded Trinity. Sunday's championship game winner earns the league's automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.
In the opening period, Amherst held a 7-3 advantage in shots as both teams gained their footing. The Purple & White's best scoring chances came from Emma Griese at 11:15 and Katelyn Pantera 22 seconds later, but both attempts were turned away by Connecticut College netminder Katherine Chester.
The second period saw the Camels register the first three shots in the opening 30 seconds of play, but Amherst goalie Sabrina Dobbins recorded a save on each attempt with her body. At 3:05, Amherst's Erin Martin had a shot on the left doorstep saved by Chester with her blocker sprawled out in the crease.
Amherst got on the scoreboard first at the 6:40 mark of the middle period. Lynndy Smith threw a shot toward the crease from just outside the right faceoff dot that bounced and found the back of the net. The Purple & White nearly doubled that lead at 9:02, but a shot by Jamie McNamara on a breakaway hit the pipe and caromed away. Just 41 seconds later at 9:43, Alex Toupal rifled a shot from the right side just inside the blue line that worked its way through traffic in front. Chester got a piece of it with her pads for Connecticut College, but it trickled over the goal line for a two-goal Amherst advantage. The Purple & White outshot the Camels 12-4 during the middle period.
Scoring chances were hard to come by in the final period as neither team managed one for the first 16 minutes. Trailing 2-0, the Camels pulled Chester with 2:19 left for an extra skater, but Toupal tallied an empty-net goal at 18:19 for a 3-0 lead. With 17 seconds left, a shot by Connecticut College's Katlyn Paiva from the right point on a breakaway hit the post but sailed up into the netting behind the goal.
Dobbins finished with 15 saves for Amherst en route to her sixth shutout of the winter, while Chester was credited with 23 stops for the Camels. Amherst concluded the game with a 26-15 advantage in shots, as Connecticut College went 0-2 on the power play and Amherst was 0-3.