SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. – The Saint Michael's College women's ice hockey team fell in a New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) game against nationally-ranked University of Massachusetts at Boston, 2-1, on Saturday afternoon at Cairns Arena. The loss moves the Purple Knights to 0-6 overall and 0-4 in the NEHC. The Beacons, who were ranked No. 9 in the most recent D3Hockey.com national poll, improve to 5-1 and 3-1 with the win.
Senior Athena Akiki (Allendale, N.J./New Jersey Rockets) scored the lone goal for the Purple Knights while classmate Tina Frasca (Norwood, Mass./Tabor Academy) made 43 saves, marking her 25th career 30-save effort. Senior Erin Dwyer (Weymouth, Mass./Archbishop Williams) recorded the 21st assist of her career, which moves her into a tie for 10th all-time in program history.
For the Beacons, senior Kristen Embrey (Highlands Ranch, Colo./Colorado Select) and sophomore Edy Moritz (Guilford, Conn./Hartford Jr. Wolfpack) scored once each, and sophomore Alyssa DePippo (Pittsburgh, Pa./Armstrong Arrows) stopped 15 of 16 shots on goal.
Early in the first period, senior Lizzie Aveson (West Covina, Calif./SUNY Plattsburgh) fired a shot that forced Frasca to sprawl out for the save, but Moritz tracked down the rebounded puck in the slot and quickly put a backhand finish into the empty net to give the Beacons 1-0 lead after 2:58. With 3:16 remaining, senior Kat Armstrong (Kingston, Ontario/Colorado Select) let go of a hard slap shot from the high slot that was heading toward the top right corner, but Frasca caught and held the puck for a glove save.
Eight minutes into the second period, the Purple Knights got their first good look on net when senior Kayla Kee (Newton, Mass./Newton South) released a high and hard wrist shot from the high slot, but her shot was stopped and held by DePippo for a glove save. At 11:30, Embrey fired a shot from the top of the right circle which Frasca got a piece of with her glove, but before she could secure the save the puck trickled across the goal line. With 4:50 remaining, Beacon junior Katie Jeter (Wintrop, Mass./Norwich) let go of a hard slap shot from the high slot that hit directly off Frasca's facemask for the save.
Thirty seconds later, Purple Knight junior Jillian Witwicki (Danvers, Mass./Pingree School) received a pass in the slot and spun around to her backhand to put an ice-level shot on goal, but DePippo denied the effort with a paddle-down save. Later in the period, senior Carolyn Avery (Lexington, Mass./Lexington) rushed the puck down the right wing and fired a shot headed for the top left with 2:40 remaining, but DePippo denied her with a blocker save. With less than 30 seconds remaining Frasca used her pads to deny two quick shots, first a point shot from Jeter and then a rebound attempt from junior Alli Bianchini (Sterling Heights, Mich./Team Detroit).
Dwyer got a good attempt on goal early in the third, as she pushed the puck down the right wing before snapping a high shot that was caught and held by DePippo at 2:47. During a 5:04 stretch, which included a successful penalty kill for the Purple Knights, Frasca made nine of her 21 saves in the third period. With 11:10 remaining, junior Amanda Donahoe (Wakefield, Mass./Saint Mary's) deflected a shot at the top of the crease that DePippo shrugged upward to stop and deflect over the goal with her shoulder. Later in the period, Dwyer rushed down the left wing and sent a pass across the crease to Akiki, who tapped the puck into the right side of goal to cut the Beacon lead in half with 4:24 remaining. The Purple Knights could not generate a tying attempt in the time remaining.
Up next for the Purple Knights is a road contest in conference against nationally-ranked and in-state opponent Norwich University on Friday at 6 p.m. Norwich is ranked No. 6 in the most recent U.S. College Hockey Online (USCHO) Division III national poll.