AMHERST, Mass. – Hamilton College’s Nancy Loh ’23 recorded a hat trick and the Continentals edged the Colby College Mules 4-3 in a 2023 NESCAC Women’s Hockey Championship semifinal at Amherst College’s Orr Rink on Friday afternoon.
Nationally ranked No. 6 Hamilton (20-4-2 overall), which is the No. 2 seed for the championship, plays at top-seeded Amherst in the conference final on Saturday, March 4 at 7:30 p.m. The Mammoths shut out Middlebury College 2-0. The winner of Saturday night’s game earns an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III championship. No. 3 seed and 10th-ranked Colby (17-7-0) had won its last six games going into the semifinals.
How It Happened
Loh scored the game-winner 9:34 into the third period and 15 seconds after a Continentals’ power play ended. Several players scrambled for control of the puck along the left-side boards in Hamilton’s offensive zone. Eventually it squirted out to Abby Kuhns ’23 and her wrist shot from the left point was stopped by the goaltender, but the puck bounced into the low slot and Loh was there to sweep it into the net. Evie Sheridan ’26 helped the Continentals hold on to their slim lead by making eight saves in the last six minutes. Things got really interesting with 3:25 left when a Hamilton player was sent to the penalty box for hooking, and the Mules pulled their goaltender for an extra skater and a 6-on-4 advantage with 2:52 remaining. Katherine Solohub ’23 and Maura Holden ’23 blocked shots in the final seconds and the Continentals hung on for the historic win. McKinley Karpa put Colby in front 9:35 into the first period. Abby Smith ’24 drew Hamilton even with 2:45 to go in the first. Emily Ferguson ’24 forced a turnover in the neutral zone and sent Katie Allen ’26 on a rush into the Continentals’ offensive zone. Allen’s shot from the right faceoff circle was turned aside but she collected the rebound and skated around the back of the net. She threw the puck towards the crease from below the left faceoff circle and the goaltender got a piece of it. Smith found the loose puck and poked it into the net from the goal line just outside the crease. The Mules went back up just 1:16 into the second period on a goal by Jo Tattersall. Loh pulled Hamilton back into a 2-2 tie during a 5-on-3 power play with 8:45 left in the second. Colby had two players go to the box 42 seconds apart and Loh made the Mules pay 14 seconds into the two-skater advantage. Hyla Mosher ’23 received the puck at the goal line to the right of the net. Mosher tried to send a pass through the crease and it was slowed down by the goaltender. The puck trickled through to the left side where Loh whacked it into the back of the net. Loh gave the Continentals their first lead with 17.9 seconds remaining in the period. She broke up a pass near the top of her defensive zone and that led to a breakaway chance. Her wrist shot from point-blank range deflected off the goaltender and rolled into the net. Colby forged another tie 4:47 into the third period when Karpa scored her second goal of the day.
Loh’s hat trick is the third of her Hamilton career. She leads the conference with 20 goals. Playing in her 100th game for the Continentals, Loh is fifth on the team’s all-time list with 55 goals and has 94 points. Smith tallied her ninth goal and 18th point this season. Kuhns and Mosher finished with two assists apiece and are tied for the team lead with 14. Allen picked up her first career helper at Hamilton. Solohub led the defense with four blocked shots. The Continentals won 37 of 61 faceoffs led by Mosher (16 of 29), Maddie Hong ’23 (9-15) and Bobbi Roca ’24 (7-9). Sheridan turned away 31 shots and aims to backstop Hamilton to its first conference title. Mandy Busky stopped 25 shots for the Mules. The Continentals were 1-for-4 on the power play while Colby came up empty on its one opportunity. Hamilton is in the NESCAC final for the first time. The Continentals have posted their first 20-win season. Hamilton shut out the Mules twice in Clinton back in early January.