Women's ice hockey falls to nationally-regarded Manhattanville, 6-3

Women's ice hockey falls to nationally-regarded Manhattanville, 6-3

SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. - The Saint Michael's College women's ice hockey team lost to nationally-regarded Manhattanville College, 6-3, on Friday at Cairns Arena. The Purple Knights fall to 3-16 overall and 3-9 in the New England Hockey Conference (NEHC). With the win, the Valiants improve to 13-6-1 and 10-2. Manhattanville received a vote toward most recent U.S. College Hockey Online (USCHO) Division III national poll.

For the Purple Knights, seniors Carolyn Avery (Lexington, Mass./Lexington) and Erin Dwyer (Weymouth, Mass./Archbishop Williams) scored a goal each while sophomore Madison Nichols (Gilford, N.H./Tilton School) added a tally. Senior Abby Burke (Bedford, Mass./Bedford) made six saves in the first period before classmate Tina Frasca (Norwood, Mass./Tabor Academy) made 27 saves in 46:04 of relief duty. Frasca only allowed two goals as she passed the 1,400-save milestone for her career. With her goal, Dwyer tied for seventh in career points in program history (50), joining Jess Tourville '09 and Madelena Santore '13.

Junior Karly Kapur paced the Valiants in scoring with a goal and two assists while sophomore Nicole Mensi scored twice. Senior Lindsay Diot, and juniors Cassandra Kent and Kristi Peters scored a goal apiece while Amanda Sabia added two assists. Junior Melissa Stys went 7-for-9 on faceoffs, and sophomore Rose Pijaca made 24 saves in the win.

Mensi opened the scoring just 25 seconds into the first when she deked around multiple defenders and finished with an ice-level shot to the right corner of the goal. Mensi scored again at 4:09, when she deked around a defender and carried to the bottom of the left circle before firing a shot past Burke's glove side for 2-0 lead. The Purple Knights responded at 6:39, when Nichols beat Pijaca from the bottom of the right circle with a shot past the blocker side. Saint Michael's knotted the score with a power-play goal at 8:56, as Avery slid home a rebound following a pileup in front of Manhattanville's goal.

The Valiants pinned the Purple Knights in their zone with a forecheck minutes later, which resulted in a Peters shot from the point that deflected off a defender and in, giving the Valiants a 3-2 lead at the 12:19 mark. Kapur tallied 1:31 later and, sophomore Kat Reilly fired a shot from the high slot late in the period that rebounded off Frasca, with Diot tipping the rebound out of midair and in at 16:25.

The teams entered the first intermission with Manhattanville leading 5-2, but the Purple Knights yielded only one goal during the final 40 minutes. Saint Michael's cut into the lead early in the second period, as Dwyer gathered a rebound and beat Pijaca past her glove side hip at 5:56. Just after the 17-minute mark, Dwyer gained the blue line and sent a lead pass to junior Jillian Witwicki (Danver, Mass./Pingree School) just above the left post, but the junior's finishing attempt was denied with a pad save by Pijaca.

The Purple Knights could not beat Pijaca on any of their eight third-period shots. Late in the final stanza Kent threw the puck toward the net from below the goal line on the left side, and the puck deflected off a defender and in to give the Valiants a 6-3 lead at 17:41 that would stand.

Up next for the Purple Knights is an NEHC contest against Salve Regina University at home on Saturday at 4 p.m. The Purple Knights will celebrate Senior Day during the game.