PLYMOUTH, N.H. - The Saint Michael's College women's ice hockey team opened a regular-season-ending four-game road swing with a 3-2 loss at Plymouth State University on Friday in Hanaway Rink. The Purple Knights slipped to 3-18 overall and 3-11 in the New England Hockey Conference (NEHC), while the Panthers, who scored the winning goal with 35.1 seconds remaining, improved to 8-12-2 and 4-9-1.
Seniors Athena Akiki (Allendale, N.J./New Jersey Rockets) and Tori Dinger (Norwell, Mass./Norwell) scored for the visitors, with classmate Erin Dwyer (Weymouth, Mass./Archbishop Williams) providing an assist. Senior Tina Frasca (Norwood, Mass./Tabor Academy) recorded 19 saves.
Senior Haley Branovan had a goal and an assist for Plymouth State, while junior Courtney Evans and first-year Alexis Fagan also scored. Sophomore Emelie Lindqvist made 22 stops.
Saint Michael's rattled off an 8-3 advantage in shots during a scoreless first period. Senior Kayla Kee (Newton, Mass./Newton South) and first-year Alissa Sullivan (Hingham, Mass./Hingham) - both defenders - had shots turned away in the opening 2:29, and a trio of Purple Knight attempts were pushed aside during a power play that began at 17:18. Dwyer, senior Sarah Bagley (Concord, Mass./Concord-Carlisle) and junior Kaitlyn Wurzer (Lee, N.H./Berwick Academy) were all denied in that stretch.
After firing off the first four shots of the second period, with Lindqvist stopping each in the opening 2:18, Saint Michael's saw the Panthers attempt 10 of the next 13, including depositing the go-ahead goal. Frasca kept the hosts off the board by denying junior Shannon Hickey with 5:17 gone and then again 13 seconds later, and the netminder stopped the first three shots on a Plymouth State power play that started at 16:03, turning away Evans once and Branovan on back-to-back tries. However, the rebound of the second landed on the stick of Evans, who tallied at 16:44. Frasca stopped a Panther shot during a Saint Michael's power play soon thereafter to keep it 1-0 heading into the third period.
Akiki knotted the contest 4:24 into the third period, with Dwyer lending an assist, before Dinger scored an unassisted tally just 4:22 later. Sullivan's bid to make it 3-1 was turned aside at 14:46, and Plymouth State countered at the other end, with Branovan finding the back of the net 26 seconds later. Frasca withstood a flurry of shots from the Panthers in the final three minutes, at one point saving four straight shots in a 26-second span, before Fagan registered her game-winner with 35.1 seconds remaining. With Frasca pulled for an extra skater, the Purple Knights slid the puck into the slot with 20 ticks to go but could not get a tying shot on net.
The Purple Knights visit Saint Anselm College tomorrow for a 1 p.m. contest.