February 21, 2013
This past weekend proved to be an emotional one for the women’s hockey program. The girls faced off against Colby College in their last home game this season. The team started strong with a win on Saturday. Hannah Jaiven ’14 racked up three points, including one goal and two assists. Nikki Haskins ’14 scored again with a textbook deflection—tallying her 25th career goal. Meghan Fitzgerald ’16 scored a breakaway goal with eight minutes and thirty-two seconds remaining in the second period. The Continentals pressured the Mules throughout the third period, and the game ended 3-1.
Sunday proved to be one of the Continentals’ closest games this season. As Colby’s last regular season game and Hamilton’s Senior Day, the contest was high pressure before warm-ups even began. Senior Katie Zimmerman described Senior Day as “full of emotions, not just for the seniors but for the rest of the team as a whole. Being our last home game of the season, we wanted to make sure it was a memorable one.”
Zimmerman leads the conference with 18 goals this season. A four-year letter winner, “Zim” has been a leader to the team and an essential component of the program for the past four seasons.
Other seniors include Emily Baxter, Rebecca Hazlett, Julia Beaty, and Captain Abby Runyon. Beaty served as Assistant Captain this season. Hazlett has started as the team’s goalie all four years, earning the honor of Rookie of the Year as a freshman.
The five seniors came out on Sunday, brimming with energy as the Mules steeled themselves for their last regular season game. The day got off to a promising start when Haskins scored on a five on three power play, with assists from Hannah Bartlett and Zimmerman.
Colby answered with two goals, setting Hamilton back 1-2. With one minute and forty-one seconds remaining in the second period, Zimmerman tied up the game 2-2 on another 5-3 power play, capitalizing on a pass across the crease for a beautiful finish.
Both teams were determined to win as they entered into the final period. Colby came out hard, scoring two goals in quick succession. With a 4-2 score in the final 15 minutes, things were looking grim for Hamilton. But the Continentals rallied, making the period one of the most dramatic of the season.
With just under 15 minutes remaining, Jill Tokarczyk ’14 scored to close the gap. Seven minutes later Gigi Fraser ’14 skated across the goal. She flicked the puck for a good effort, but unfortunately the attempt ended in an unfinished rebound. With six minutes left, the Continentals made another attempt when Hannah Bartlett ’16 sent a direct shot to goal. The goalie deflected the shot, but in the ensuing scramble a penalty was called on Colby.
Hamilton regrouped with a quick timeout and then came out determined to use their 5-3 advantage. Their hard work paid off when Zimmerman tied up the game with five minutes on the clock.
The Mules fought back, working to regain the lead. With fifty seconds left, Beaty dived to block a hard shot on goal. The game ended at 4-4, and the teams prepared for overtime. Freshman Emily Rubinstein described the next five minutes as “nerve wracking.” Zimmerman added that the team “would not be denied a final victory in the Sage. We had a good crowd at the game, and the energy level was high.” Hamilton students and parents slammed their thunder sticks together, hooting and clapping—and with one collective breath the two teams skated into sudden-victory overtime.
The Continentals started overtime on power play and immediately began to pressure the Mules. With three minutes and 45 seconds left, Hamilton made its final bid for victory. Hannah Jaiven ’14 scored off of a deflection, ending the game 5-4 and securing Hamilton as the No. six seed to the NESCAC Championship. The rink rang with celebration.
“There’s no better way to finish the regular season than to sweep,” said Zimmerman. The five seniors enjoyed a remarkable win, to which Zimmerman exclaimed, “It’s safe to say we raged in Sage!” As she sees it, “There’s no better memory than a come-from-behind, overtime victory.”
Baxter agrees, saying she “felt a lot of love.” She will remember this past Sunday as an “epic senior day.”
Zimmerman already looks forward to next weekend as she addresses her fellow Blue: “EFF THE JEFFS,” she exclaimed, as Hamilton will play Amherst in the quarterfinals on Friday. Nevertheless, she will not be quick to forget Colby. And neither will her fellow seniors.
Indeed, for most of us, this past weekend was just like any other. But for these five seniors, Saturday and Sunday were anything but ordinary. The double-header was filled with goals, penalties, tears and sweat. In the end, there is no better way to honor the seniors than with two unforgettable victories.