PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. — With 1:09 remaining in sudden death overtime, Nicole Grossmann took matters into her own hands. The Pointers’ leading scorer stole the puck off of an Amherst defender’s stick, right in front of Amherst goalie Krystyn Elek, and backhanded the puck top shelf to the left of Elek.
“We played well today,” said Wisconsin-Stevens Point coach Ann Ninnemann. “It’s very exciting for our team and our program for a third-place finish.”
In a span of 10 seconds, Wisconsin-Stevens Point found itself with a comfortable two-goal lead. The back-to-back goals came 3:31 and 3:41 into the opening period.
The Pointers scored first when Rachael Graves, from the blueline in front of the Amherst bench, threw the puck toward the net. The puck sailed through the legs of Amherst goaltender Lindsay Grabowski, giving the Pointers the early lead.
Off the ensuing faceoff, Jamie Lewandowski carried the puck into the Amherst zone along the right sideboards. Lewandowski saw an open Michelle Sosnowski on Grabowski’s doorstep and fed her a pass, which was tucked in to give the Pointers a 2-0 lead.
Amherst cut the lead in half a little over five minutes into the second period, with a little help from Pointer goaltender, Amy Statz. Statz misplayed the puck, which ricocheted off the end board, and sent the puck barely over the goal-line. The red-light came on and after a discussion with the goal judge; Meg Quinn was awarded the goal.
“It was probably one of the worst goals I’ve ever let in,” Statz said.
Three minutes later the Pointers responded. With a crowd in front of Grabowski, Pointer forward Madison Darud found the puck and flung it past Grabowski, ending her night. The senior was pulled in favor of All-American Krystyn Elek who has been Amherst’s horse during their playoff run.
Before the second period came to an end, Amherst yet again battled back. With 28.7 seconds to go, Alyssa Chwick found an open Tarasai Karega on the left faceoff dot for a one-timer cutting the Pointer lead to 3-2.
The third period saw Amherst knot the game at three, when Karega struck again. Karega picked up the puck that snuck past a Pointer defender attempting to keep it in the zone and carried it the length of the ice, riffling a shot past Statz to tie the game.
But in the end, it was the Pointers who prevailed.
With the loss, Amherst’s season comes to an end, but with their performance this weekend, they showed that they belonged on the national level.
“It’s hard to end the season when you have a great group of kids,” said Amherst coach Jim Plumer. “They (seniors) are probably the most talented class to come to Amherst.”
The turnaround, from a 10-15-0 record last season to a National Semifinalist, shows a bright future for the Amherst program.
“You’ve got to walk before you can run,” Plumer said. “We got a little head of steam and started running; we didn’t want to stop.”
For the Pointers, it was a special way to send off their seniors.
“Two teams get the opportunity to end their season on a win,” said Pointer defender Chris Hanson. “To be one of those teams is a special thing.”