MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – The Bowdoin women's ice hockey team skated into the NESCAC finals after defeating Amherst 3-1 this evening at Middlebury.
The Polar Bears (20-4-2) will make their sixth finals appearance, and first since 2006, on Sunday when they face Middlebury. The Jeffs end their season with a 13-11-1 mark.
Bowdoin got on the board early, taking a 1-0 lead 6:06 into the contest. Madeline Lane took a shot from the right point that deflected in off a defender for her third of the season. The Polar Bears had a great look at the 14-minute mark, as Stephanie Ludy and Kenzie Novak worked a two-on-one before a great stop from Kerri Stuart. Amherst countered on the other end with a solid chance, but Erin Martin was denied on a breakaway with a big pad save from Kayla Lessard.
Neither team had great scoring chances in the second period, with Bowdoin getting the best look late in the period on a late power play. Stuart made a big glove save on Chelsea MacNeil, with the rebound being cleared off the goal line as time was expiring.
Amherst pressured the Bowdoin net midway through the third stanza on the power play, but Lessard stood strong to keep her team up 1-0. The Jeffs had a great look at 13:40, but Courtney Baranek was denied by Lessard after a two-on-one with Geneva Lloyd.
Bowdoin went on a power play at the 14:49 mark, gaining some much-needed breathing room with a power play goal 53 seconds into the advantage. Novak's shot from the right point was tipped in front by Ludy for her 14th of the season.
Amherst came within one with 33 seconds remaining with a six-on-four goal. Ashley Salerno found Lloyd at the top of the zone before she ripped a shot into the back of the net for her 14th of the year. The Jeffs again pulled Stuart following the goal, but a turnover led to an empty-net goal by Rachel Kennedy to seal the win for Bowdoin with 10 seconds remaining.
Lessard finished with 27 saves in goal to earn the win, while Stuart made 26 stops for Amherst.
Bowdoin and Middlebury faceoff in the NESCAC final tomorrow afternoon at 2:00 PM on Middlebury's home ice.