SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. - The Saint Michael's College women's ice hockey team opened its 13th annual Trader Duke's Ice Hockey Classic by falling to the University of Southern Maine, 3-2, on Friday evening at Cairns Arena. The Purple Knights are 2-11 after their sixth loss by two goals or fewer, while the Huskies improved to 4-9. During the day's early game, Hamilton College and Plymouth State University played to a 1-1 draw.
Sophomore Jordan Monbouquette (Wayland, Mass./Lawrence Academy) and first-year Krista Ferrari (Dunstable, Mass./East Coast Wizards) both scored for the hosts, with Ferrari potting her initial college marker. Senior Jillian Witwicki (Danvers, Mass./Pingree School) was 12-for-20 on faceoffs while blocking four shots, first-year Megan Doherty (Stoughton, Mass./Walpole Express) went 7-for-13 at the dot, and junior Nicole Talcott (Colchester, Vt./Rice Memorial Prep) made 25 saves. The hosts held a 35-28 advantage in shots.
Junior Julia Ormsby and first-year Rylie Binnette both notched a goal and an assist for Southern Maine, sophomore Jill Hannigan also scored, and junior Britney Evangelista recorded 33 saves.
During a scoreless opening period, the Purple Knights held an advantage of 15-10 in shots while winning 15-of-22 faceoffs. At 8:40, junior Madison Nichols (Gilford, N.H./Tilton School) had an initial shot from the slot stopped before Witwicki was denied on a rebound while crashing the left post. Witwicki was turned away once more less than 20 seconds later after one-timing a drop pass into the netminder. Ferrari was stopped at the left post at 13:45 after taking junior Brenna Galvin's (Dorchester, Mass./Boston Latin School) backhanded pass in the crease. Talcott came up with a stop of first-year Delaney O'Connor's slow shot from the point with 15:38 gone as sophomore Meghan Concannon applied pressure before waffle boarding aside Ormsby's shorthanded bid at the 17-minute mark.
The teams combined for four goals in the second period, including three in an early 3:17 stretch. Hannigan put the Huskies ahead by roofing a tally from low in the right circle at 4:30, but the Purple Knights drew even 52 seconds later. After sophomore Arianna Boscia (Cranston, R.I./La Salle Academy) had a shot from the low right circle stopped by Evangelista, the rebound kicked out front, where Ferrari blasted home a power-play marker. Ormsby put the visitors back in front at 7:47, redirecting Binette's centering pass from the right goal-line extended.
Ferrari made a couple nice moves to get alone on the netminder at 15:48, including slipping the puck through a defender's skates to keep possession, but her backhanded shot from in close was denied. With a little less than three minutes left, Nichols forced a turnover in the Purple Knight zone, gained possession in the neutral zone and raced past her woman to the outside in the Huskie zone before sending a shot from the low right circle that was denied, but Monbouquette pounced on the rebound at the left side of the net while falling to the ice to tie the game at 17:37.
Saint Michael's held a narrow 8-6 edge in third-period shots, but Southern Maine netted the only goal. During a power-play sequence, junior Jensen Hamblett fired a shot from the point over the net, but the puck ricocheted off the glass, redirected off of Talcott and trickled across the crease before Binette touched it off of the right post. With numerous players trying to gain control in the crease and Talcott at the far post, a Purple Knight skater pushed the puck across the goal line at 6:34. The hosts' best chance to knot the game came with about three minutes remaining, as Boscia ripped a shot from the right point that Evangelista kicked away with her right pad. With the Saint Michael's net empty for the final 1:07, first-year Maddie Gervais (Glastonbury, Conn./East Catholic) had a final shot saved.
Saturday's final day of action features Hamilton and Southern Maine squaring off at 1 p.m. before the Purple Knights oppose Plymouth State at 4 p.m.