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Bullock’s overtime goal lifts Hamilton College over Nazareth

Credit: Scott Kinville.

It was deja vu at Russell Sage Rink on the Hamilton College campus on Wednesday night, as the eighth-ranked Hamilton College Continentals Women’s Hockey Team (16-6-6) hosted the tenth-ranked Nazareth Golden Flyers (22-6-1) in a first-round NCAA Tournament game. Almost one year ago to the date, the teams met in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at the same venue. In that game, the Continentals came out on top 3-1.

This time, Hamilton would prevail again, winning 2-1 on a Lydia Bullock goal early in the first overtime period to advance to the Quarterfinals of the NCAA Women’s Division III Tournament. They will now travel to Michigan to face the third-ranked Adrian Bulldogs.

The Continentals also defeated the Golden Flyers 2-1 in overtime in their regular season meeting at Sage Rink on December 5.

“Feels good,” Hamilton head coach Kayte Holtz said after the game. “Throughout the year we’ve had a lot of overtime games, a lot of really, really close games mostly within one goal. Kind of used to that pressure, used to having close games.”

Hamilton’s Carly McMahon (#11) looks to play the puck during Wednesday night’s game at Russell Sage Rink. Photo credit: Scott Kinville.

Although it was Bullock’s goal that won the game, goaltender Teagan Brown was the story for the Continentals. The reigning NESCAC Rookie of the Year made 29 saves and was especially busy in the second and third periods where Nazareth controlled large stretches of the game. Wednesday night was Brown’s first game in nearly a month.

Women’s hockey to host Nazareth in an NCAA first-round game

The Golden Flyers got on the scoreboard first when Ingrid Holstad finished a pass from Makenna Wiljanen by depositing the puck in the Continental’s net 4:11 into the first period. The home team answered back with a power play goal with 7:08 left in the first when Ali Joseph put a rebound past Nazareth goaltender McKinley Hoff. Bullock drew the primary assist on the Joseph goal, factoring in both of her team’s scores for the evening.

Teagan Brown makes a save Lindsay Moses of Nazareth (#28). Photo credit: Scott Kinville.

The Joseph goal would conclude the scoring in regulation, but it was Brown who was the busier of the two goaltenders for the rest of regulation. The Continentals were outshot 24-11 in the second and third periods combined, but their goalie kept the Golden Flyers at bay.

“I came back yesterday from practice and Coach Holtz called me, and she was like, do you want this game,” Brown said afterward about her return to action. “I said absolutely. I think adrenaline goes a long way, and I think that never lets me down. I felt great and it’s great to be back”.

The home team flipped the script on their visitors in the overtime, as the Continentals were the much more aggressive team on the forecheck. It didn’t take long for it to pay off. At just 3:47 into the extra frame, Ava Romano set up Bullock from the left goal line who put the puck past Hoff from the slot for the game-winner.

The Hamilton College Continentals celebrate their NCAA Tournament first-round victory on Wednesday night. Photo credit: Scott Kinville.

“They knew we could do it, so it didn’t matter what the shots were, didn’t matter what the other periods were,” Holtz said about her team’s performance. “Every period is a new period, every period is a new game, a new mini-game. it’s just refocusing and coming out to give everything.”

Bullock felt her team’s plan would ultimately pay off, stating “Our gameplan was getting it deep and forechecking. Then from there, we’re able to cycle, generate shots on net, and go crash and rebound. We really focused on that, to put something in the back of the net.”

Although it was a bitter pill for his team to swallow, Nazareth head coach Chris Baudo was still very pleased with his team’s effort.

“It’s disappointing, but we’re not disappointed,” he said. “Because we’re so proud of what they’ve accomplished and how they move the program forward.”

Nazareth had only five senior or graduate players on the roster, but Baudo credits them with leading a very young team to the success it enjoyed this season.

“It comes out with great leadership,” he stated. “The five or six, whatever we have, upperclassmen did a really incredible job of passing on the culture, the expectation every day, and creating a sense of belief in what we wanted to accomplish.”

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