Women's hockey edges Conn. College on the road for 14th win

Taegan Blackwell '19 (Josh McKee photo)
Taegan Blackwell '19 (Josh McKee photo)

Hamilton College's Gab Venne '22 made 27 saves and the Continentals held on for a 2-1 NESCAC win against the Connecticut College Camels at Conn. College's Dayton Arena on Friday night.

Hamilton (14-7-2, 8-5-2 NESCAC) tied a program record the Continentals set in 2016-17 with their 14th win this season. Hamilton moved into third place in the conference standings with one game left in the regular season. The top four teams at the end of the regular season host a NESCAC championship quarterfinal on Saturday, Feb. 23. The Continentals and the Camels play again in New London, Connecticut, on Saturday, Feb. 16 at 3 p.m.

Venne, who has started the last five conference games, is fourth in the NESCAC with a 1.32 goals against average and .946 save percentage. Hamilton is 4-1-0 in those five games with Venne between the pipes.

The Continentals grabbed a 1-0 lead 4:15 into the first period. Conn. College tried to clear the puck out of their defensive zone along the left boards, but it was knocked loose by Andrea Rockey '19 to Kate Piacenza '21 behind the goal line. Piacenza sent a centering pass to Jenna Jewell '19 in the slot, and she deflected the puck to Rockey below the faceoff circle to the goaltender's left. Rockey's one-timer beat Bailey Mertz (21 saves) on the glove side for her fifth goal and 12 point this season. Jewell and Piacenza collected their fifth and sixth assists, respectively, and Piacenza is second on the team with 15 points. Jewell won 12 of 16 faceoffs.

Hamilton killed back-to-back penalties that were separated by 23 seconds late in the first period, and the Continentals went into the first intermission with that one-goal edge.

Hamilton went up by two goals midway through its second power play of the night late in the second period. Missy Segall '21 started the play as she barely kept the puck in the Continentals' offensive zone with a fantastic individual effort. Mya Berretta '22 passed from the faceoff circle to Mertz's left to Emily Williams '19 at the point. Williams slid the puck over to Taegan Blackwell '19 and her wrister from the top of the left faceoff circle beat Mertz high on the blocker side with 1:27 left. The goal was Blackwell's first this season and her 10th point. Berretta picked up her fifth assist and Williams tallied her fourth. Hamilton is 10th in Division III on the power play at 23.5 percent.

Berretta nearly gave the Continentals an insurmountable three-goal lead with about 11:30 remaining in the third period, but Mertz made a sprawling save on a shot from point-blank range. Just 10 seconds into the Camels' fifth and final power play, Conn. College cut its deficit in half. Venne made the initial stop but Melissa Alexander poked in the loose puck during a scramble in front of the crease with 9:24 to go. The Camels (10-9-3, 6-6-3) pulled Mertz for a sixth skater with 2:03 left and put two shots on goal that Venne turned away. Two more shots sailed wide of the net in the final minute.

Conn. College hit the post three times, including twice shortly after Hamilton took its 1-0 lead in the first period, and again early in the third.