Women's ice hockey visits Franklin Pierce for first round of NEHC Open Tournament

Women's ice hockey visits Franklin Pierce for first round of NEHC Open Tournament

COLCHESTER, Vt. - The Saint Michael's College women's ice hockey team will complete its season this week in the five-team New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) Open Tournament. The fifth-seeded Purple Knights head to No. 3 Franklin Pierce University on Wednesday for an 8 p.m. play-in game.

The winner of the play-in game advances to the semifinal round on Saturday at Sacred Heart University, where the lowest remaining seed takes on No. 1 Saint Anselm College at 1 p.m. The other semifinal takes place at 4 p.m. No. 3 College of the Holy Cross and No. 4 Sacred Heart round out the field. On Sunday, the consolation game begins at 1 p.m. before the title game starts at 4 p.m. Holy Cross won the 2016 crown.

Saint Michael's will compete in the tournament for the 15th time in 16 seasons. The Purple Knights upset Sacred Heart, 5-2, in last year's first round to advance to the semifinals. After a 9-2 loss to Holy Cross, they dropped a 6-0 decision against Franklin Pierce in the third-place game. The Ravens won both regular-season meetings with Saint Michael's this winter, with each contest coming in November. This will be third straight postseason where the teams meet, and the 14th match-up all time.

The Purple Knights are 4-6 since Jan. 20, with two of those setbacks coming by 3-2 counts. Overall, they have suffered 13 setbacks by three goals or fewer while carrying a 4-20 mark, including 4-13 during NEHC play. One of the Purple and Gold's biggest wins this winter was a 5-2 victory at Castleton University, which drew the fourth seed in the NEHC Tournament.

Senior Erin Dwyer (Weymouth, Mass./Archbishop Williams) leads the Purple Knights in goals (9) and points (14), coming within one goal of the career high she set last year. Classmate Athena Akiki (Allendale, N.J./New Jersey Rockets) had five goals and four assists in her first season as a forward, and junior Kaitlyn Wurzer (Lee, N.H./Berwick Academy) turns in a team-high eight assists during her initial year as a forward. Senior Tina Frasca (Norwood, Mass./Tabor Academy) has a 3.21 goals-against average and a .915 save percentage through 13 starts, while classmate Abby Burke (Bedford, Mass./The Rivers School) made nine starts.