Photo credit: Scott Kinville/315 Hockey.
By Scott Kinville/315 Hockey.
The thirteenth-ranked Hamilton College Continentals Women’s Hockey Team continued to make a statement this weekend, and that statement is they are a force to be reckoned with.
With a 9-2-0 overall record and a 5-1-0 mark within the NESCAC, the Continentals are putting together an impressive season. They are currently on a seven-game winning streak, and six of their nine wins have come against teams that are ranked or were ranked at the time the Continentals played them. Their latest win came on Saturday afternoon at Russell Sage Rink, where they defeated the sixth-ranked Colby College Mules by a score of 3-0. The Continentals also shut out the Mules on Friday night by a 1-0 margin.
Hamilton’s victory on Friday was powered by a goal by senior Nancy Loh and a twenty-seven save shutout by goaltender Evie Sheridan, who picked up her seventh win of the season. Sheridan returned to the crease on Saturday afternoon, as did her counterpart from Colby, Mandy Busky. On Saturday, the Continentals opened the game with a relentless forecheck and pressure that put the visitors on their heels. That pressure would lead to a power play opportunity about halfway into the period that the home team cashed in on. Defender Abby Kuhns made a Drew Doughty-Esque spin move at the Colby blue line, skated the puck to the top of the circles, and ripped a shot into the top left corner of the net to open the scoring. The Mules would apply some pressure of their own in the closing minutes of the first, but Sheridan denied all their chances and the Continentals took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission.
Colby opened the second period with a determined effort to put more pressure on the Continental’s defense, which they did. The Mules registered sixteen shots on goal in the period, but Sheridan was outstanding as she made several big saves to frustrate the visitor’s attack. Instead, Hamilton scored the only goal of the period when Nancy Loh found a loose puck in front of the Colby crease that she put past Busky to put her team up by a pair of goals. The tally extended Loh’s goal-scoring streak to five games.
The Continentals thought they had a shorthanded goal during the third period when Maddie Hong flipped a shot in on goal from beyond the Colby blue line that took a weird bounce and then skipped past Busky and in. After a conference among the officials, it was waived off as the play was determined to be offside. Sheridan continued to keep the Mules at bay but would leave the game with 3:18 left after a pile-up in her crease. Cate Gallagher came on in relief, and after Nancy Loh scored her second goal of the game into an empty net, Gallagher completed the 3-0 shutout victory and weekend sweep of the Colby Mules.
Notes: Colby outshot Hamilton 36-29…Hamilton was 1 for 3 on the power play, while Colby was 0-1…Nancy Loh (2 goals), Abby Kuhns (1 goal and 1 assist), and Claire McGennis (2 assists) led all scorers with 2 points each…Hamilton plays again on Tuesday afternoon, at home, against Nazareth.
Three Observations From the Game
Hamilton’s Leaders Led
Forward Nancy Loh and defender Abby Kuhns are both seniors and members of the captain’s group for the Continentals. They were also instrumental in securing their team’s second straight win against a Colby Mules team that was ranked sixth in Division III entering this weekend. Kuhns was solid on both ends of the ice, and Loh has been on a goal-scoring tear as of late. She has seven goals in her last five games – including a total of three goals to go with fourteen shots in the two games against the Mules.
Evie Sheridan has established herself as the clear leader in the crease for the Continentals. She has not allowed a goal in three of her last four games and twice held a Colby team that is ranked twelfth in Division III in goals per game scoreless. Impressive indeed.
Claire McGennis Had a Solid Game as Well
Junior forward Claire McGennis quietly had a solid game on Saturday afternoon. She registered two assists and was very noticeable on the forecheck in the third period. She now has four points in her last three games.
The Continentals Have Become Giant Slayers
The Continentals now hold victories over fifth-ranked Amherst, two over sixth-ranked Colby, and one over tenth-ranked Elmira. The remaining schedule is daunting – as they have games against twelfth-ranked Nazareth and fourteen-ranked Utica on deck and the rest of their opponents, with the exception of Middlebury, have received votes in the latest USCHO poll. A challenging first half of their schedule will have coach Emily McNamara’s team prepared for an equally challenging second half.