BOSTON, Mass. - For the second time in the last three years women's ice hockey will face Manhattanville College in the first round of the ECAC East Tournament. The Beacons will take on the Valiants tomorrow evening at 7 p.m. at Terry Conners Rink in Stamford, Connecticut.
Saturday, February 22 at 7 p.m. at Terry Conners Rink
Video Webcast: http://www.govaliants.tv/
In 2013-14 the Beacons went 0-1-1 against the Valiants. In the first meeting the Beacons saw Katie Loiselle (Glocester, R.I.) and Jenny Currie (Chelmsford, Mass.) each find the back to the net, but it was Manhattanville College who earned the 4-2 victory in Boston. Sophomore goalie Casey Schaejbe (Arlington, Mass.) combined for 21 saves in the loss. In their most recent meeting Samantha Fallon (Pembroke, Mass.) scored the lone Beacons goal, while Moe Bradley (Swampscott, Mass.) registered 26 saves in the 1-1 overtime draw.
Saturday's meeting will mark the sixth time that UMass Boston has faced the Valiants in the postseason since 2003-04. In last year's semi-final Manhattanville jumped out to a 2-0 lead before Sarahanne Cavolo (Roxbury, N.H.) cut the Valiants lead to one late in the second period. Manhattanville would respond with two straight goals in the third before Emily Howard (Terryville, Conn.) netted UMass Boston's second goal of the day. Unfortunately the Valiants clinched the victory moments later with their fifth goal to earn the 5-2 win.
SCOUTING THE BEACONS
If UMass Boston is to be successful in Saturday's contest they will need to control the pace early and play a consistent game from start to finish. Another key factor will be limiting the Valiants shots on goal, while capitalizing on their own. UMass Boston has shown they can not only dictate the pace of a game this season, but they have also demonstrated that they can take down some of the top teams in and out of the ECAC East conference.
Helping to carry the Beacons offense will be Fallon, who enters Saturday's contest with a team-best 15 goals and 18 points. Alyssa Sullivan (Medford, Mass.) currently stands as the Beacons top playmaker with her 10 assist and sits second on the team with 16 points. On special teams the duo have combined for eight power-play goals respectively, while Sullivan owns the only UMass Boston shorthanded goal this season.
Defensively the Beacons will need both Bradley and Schaejbe to be ready at a moment's notice. The duo have proven to be a one-two punch for the Beacons all season long, with Bradley registering a 1.69 goals against average and a .936 save percentage going into Saturday. Schaejbe sits with a 2.01 GAA and a .928 save percentage in a combined 685 minutes of playing time.
SCOUTING THE VALIANTS
The Valiants have had an up-and-down 2013-14 season, but will enter this year's tournament with three 20+ point earners. Sydney Asselstine leads Manhattanville with 29 points (15g, 14a), while Alla Traun and Michele Meggiolaro sit tied for second with 24 points each. Traun is second on the team with 11 goals, and is third in assists with 13. Meggiolaro is the Valiants go-to playmaker with her 16 assists and also has a +12 rating.
The trio account for five of the Valiants eight game winning goals and have combined for 11 of the team's 15 power-play scores respectively. Between the pipes it has been Kirsten Shaughnessy who has seen a majority of the minutes this season. In 967 minutes of playing time she has totaled 405 saves and carries a 4-9-3 record with one shutout. Dana DeMartino has seen a good amount of action as well having played 528 minutes and has totaled 210 stops.
The winner of Saturday's contest will advance to the semi-final game and will likely face the winner of #1 Norwich University and #8 New England College on Saturday March 1. Unlike previous seasons this year's tournament format will not have the four remaining teams traveling to the highest remaining seed.
The winners of the next Saturday's semi-final games will travel to the highest remaining seed to play for the conference tournament championship with the winner earning the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.