Lady Bears stun No. 7 Elmira behind Conophy's 46 saves
POTSDAM, N.Y.—Junior goaltender Jen Conophy stopped 46 shots to lead the SUNY Potsdam women’s hockey team (12-9-3) to a 2-1 upset of Elmira College (20-5-1). The victory was the Bears’ first ever playoff victory and first victory over a ranked opponent. Senior defenseman Breanna Roy and sophomore forward Jenn Crawford scored for Potsdam.
Elmira controlled the play territorially in the first period and outshot the Bears 10-3. However, Conophy and Potsdam’s defense kept Elmira off the board. The Bears blocked shots and prevented second chance opportunities. It was a trend that continued the entire contest. The Bears' penalty kill was also sharp as the Soaring Eagles were 0-3 on the power play in the first period. There was no score after 20 minutes.Potsdam picked up some momentum after an early second period power play opportunity. At the 4:45 mark of the second period, a Roy blast from the points beat Soaring Eagle goalie Lisa Marshall to put the Bears up 1-0. Senior captain Annmarie Lewis and Crawford assisted on the goal. Elmira answered with pressure of its own and five minutes later evened the score. After a scrum for a loose puck to the left of the goal, the puck popped free to Ashley Ryan in front of the net. Ryan made the most of the opportunity at 9:21. Potsdam’s defense continued to keep the Eagles at bay until the 16:18 mark. An Elmira defenseman tried to clear the puck when Crawford poked it off her stick and then ripped a shot under Marshall’s left arm for the eventual game-winner.
The Soaring Eagles continued raise their effort and pressure in the third period and the Bears continued to block shots and clear their zone when it was most needed. Conophy was at her best, stopping shot after shot and finishing with 20 saves in the third period alone. Elmira had its chances to tie, but couldn’t convert. Roy was whistled for tripping at 10:27 and Ryan was awarded a penalty shot. After several moves Ryan fired wide of the right post. Elmira pulled Marshall with 1:16 left and Potsdam called timeout. With 10.5 seconds left, Conophy robbed Tori Charron on a shot from the slot at point blank range. The Bears won the ensuing faceoff and ran out the clock.
The Bears held Elmira scoreless on five power plays, while finishing 0-4 themselves. Marshall finished with 11 saves.
“It’s an accomplishment that these players will never forget,” said ECAC West Coach of the Year Jay Green. “They should be very proud of their effort and Jen Conophy was just fantastic.”
Conophy was unfazed by Emira’s pressure.
“Those are my favorite games,” said Conophy. “I hate being bored in the net. I play better when there are a lot shots because it’s easier get in a groove.”
The Bears make their first appearance in the ECAC West semifinals at RIT next Saturday, March 3. The start time has yet to be announced.