Stevens notches second shutout of season, Purple Knights blank Nichols, 1-0

SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. - The Saint Michael's College women's ice hockey team picked up its second straight victory by topping Nichols College, 1-0, in Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) East action on Friday at Cairns Arena. With the win, the Purple Knights improve to 3-19-1 overall and 2-15 in the league, while the Bison fall to 3-18-1 and 1-13-1.

Sophomore Maire Bartkus (Acton, Mass./Northfield Mount Hermon) scored for Saint Michael's, while senior Erin Stevens (Watertown, Conn./Connecticut Polar Bears) pitched her second shutout of the season by making 48 saves. Stevens finished the contest with 2,412 career stops, moving into 14th place among goalies who have played in a Division III conference.

First-year Nia Kelly (Cary, N.C./Boston Shamrocks) posted 26 saves in net for Nichols.

With close to six minutes left in what proved to be a scoreless opening period, junior Courtney Burnett (Deep River, Ontario/Northwood School) fired a shot that deflected off a defender's leg after she intercepted a pass from Kelly, who came out of her net to play the puck. With about two minutes left in the frame, junior Mary Liz Pinnella (Manasquan, N.J./New Jersey Lady Patriots) stole the puck near the Nichols blue line before ringing a shot off the right post. The Purple Knights also had a flurry of chances in the final minute of the period, but couldn't find the back of the net.

Bartkus ripped a shot from the blue line that slipped in to put the hosts ahead, 1-0, 7:13 into the second period for what was ultimately the only goal of the game. With around two minutes to play in the frame, first-year Caitie Shea (Smithfield, R.I./Mount Saint Charles Academy) hit the post before sending a second shot just wide of the Bison net.

Stevens turned away all 21 Nichols shots in the third period, including four within the final minute of play after the visitors had pulled their goalie.

Saint Michael's is back in action tomorrow when it hosts Manhattanville College, which is receiving votes in both the U.S. College Hockey Online (USCHO) and national polls, in its regular-season finale at 3 p.m.