March 1, 2014

Women's Hockey Fall Just Short In 2-1 Overtime Loss At #4 Norwich

NORTHFIELD, Vt.—UMass Boston women's hockey pushed #4 and top-seeded Norwich University to overtime before falling 2-1 in Saturday afternoon's ECAC East Semifinals at Kreitzberg Arena.

Two-time ECAC East Player of the Year Tori Charon recorded a pair of goals to help the Cadets (24-3-0) advance to their sixth-consecutive ECAC East Conference Championship Game. The fifth-seeded Beacons played one of their most complete games of the season but fell just short, as they wrap up the 2013-14 campaign with a 12-11-4 mark.

Saturday's contest marks the final game in the careers of four senior skaters:  Katie Loiselle (Glocester, R.I.), Sarahanne Cavolo (Roxbury, N.H.), Courtney White (Medford, Mass.) and Kelly Sharlow (Potsdam, N.Y.).

Sophomore forward Samantha Fallon (Pembroke, Mass.) scored her team-leading 17th tally of the season with 1:44 to play to force overtime. The Second Team All-Conference honoree took a pass from White and put her wrap-around bid home to tie the contest at 1-1. 

Fellow All-Conference honoree Moe Bradley (Arlington, Mass.) was huge as well for the Beacons, as she stopped 26 of 28 shots against the eight-ranked offense in the nation. Bradley stopped seven or more shots in all three periods, including all seven shots she faced in the third, while the Beacons were making their comeback bid.

On the other side, Charon accounted for both goals, while senior defenseman Kayla Parsons picked up a pair of assists for Norwich. Junior goaltender Taylor Fairchild made 13 save on 14 shots.  

The two teams got off to a slow start in the first period, with neither side able to solve the opposing goaltender. Both teams earned a chance on the power-play but couldn't convert, as Norwich went into the break with a 10-1 lead in shots on goal.

Norwich picked up the pace to begin the second period and were awarded a controversial goal at the 8:01 mark. With several players from both teams in the Beacons' crease, Bradley tried to cover up, only to have the puck poked behind her. The referee signaled a Norwich goal, despite the fact that Bradley appeared to have stopped the puck before it crossed the goal line.

UMass Boston picked up their game from there, as the Beacons earned a pair of power-play opportunities and created several great chances late in the stanza. After struggling over the first couple minutes of the period, UMass Boston outshot the Cadets 10-7 in the second.

Chances would be at a premium in the third period, as both teams fought desperately for a chance to play in next Saturday's ECAC East Tournament Title Game.

Bradley made seven saves over the first 15 minutes of the period to keep the deficit at 1-0 and allow UMass Boston to make a comeback bid. After Norwich skaters blocked several Beacons shots, Fallon finally knocked home her 17th goal of the season, with just 1:44 to play.

Loiselle recorded the final shot of the period before overtime, but Norwich was able to get a body in front of the shot.

UMass Boston picked up their best chance of the overtime session five minutes in, when Sharlow skated coast-to-coast, before being stripped of the puck, just as she was about to take a shot.

Norwich clinched the victory less than two minutes later, when Parsons sent a pass from her own defensive circle to the Beacons' blue line for Charon. Charon picked up the pass and skated in one-on-one on Bradley, before sending her back-hand shot by the Beacons netminder.

The Cadets will host the winner of #2 Salve Regina University and #3 Castleton State College next Saturday in the ECAC East Title Game.