BOSTON, Mass. – With a pair of first period goals second-seeded women's ice hockey secured a spot in the New England Hockey Conference Tournament championship game as they defeated third-seeded Castleton University 2-1 Saturday afternoon in the Edward T. Barry Ice Rink.
#2 UMass Boston 2, #3 Castleton University 1
UMass Boston (12-11-4)
Castleton University (13-13-1)
HOW IT HAPPENED
With the win the Beacons will face top-seeded Norwich University next Saturday at Kreitzberg Arena at a time to be determined. The winner of this year's tournament, will earn the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament.
In the first period, the Beacons controlled all the momentum, on both sides of the ice. Alli Bianchini (Sterling Heights, Mich.) got the Beacons on the board right before the midway point. The senior forward, who scored the game-winning goal in the 2016 semi-final overtime win over Castleton, picked-up the loose puck. She then went one-on-one with Castleton's Alexis Kalm, and beat the sophomore to upper near post.
The Beacons would come close two more times over the final 10 minutes with pucks ringing off both posts. It was not until the 19:12 mark that UMB would collect the game-winning tally on the power-play. Defenseman Bri Colucci (Lancaster, N.Y.) would net the crucial goal after collecting a loose puck on the far side of the Castleton goal. With no one around her, the New York native unleashed a powerful shot that hit the top of the netting to give the Beacons a 2-0 lead heading into the first intermission.
The second period, would see the Spartans score their only tally of the night, which came on the power-play. Aimee Briand scored the uncontested tally to make it a one goal affair with just over 28 minutes remaining in regulation. The second stanza proved to be more evenly contested period, with the two teams stretching the ice as far as possible.
The Beacons defense held strong throughout multiple Castleton rushes to preserve their one goal lead. In their final period of regulation, UMB's defense took over and completely neutralized the Spartans offense. In 20 minutes of hockey, the Spartans managed just three shots on goal. The Beacons tried to secure the victory, but just missed on multiple occasions. UMass Boston narrowly missed an empty-netter in the closing seconds, but with the defense forcing turnover after turnover, it did not matter as UMB celebrated their second tournament semi-final win ever in program history.
BY THE NUMBERS
- UMass Boston outshot the Spartans 32-18
- Rachel Myette (Duxbury, Mass.) registered 17 stops to improve to 2-0 in the NEHC semi-final games
- With the win the Beacons went 3-0 against the Spartans in the 2017-18 season
- UMB finished 1-for-4 on the power play, while the Spartans went 1-for-3
- The Beacons finished with a +5 rating and had a combined 13 blocked shots
- All-time the Beacons are now 4-0 in postseason meetings with the Spartans
- UMass Boston is now 19-5-1 all-time against Castleton
- Today's contest marked the first time in conference tournament history that co-head coaches faced each other in UMB's Lindsay Berman and CU's Ashley Salerno
- Saturday's contest marked the first-ever home NEHC semi-final game played in Boston and first-ever semi-final home win for the Beacons in program history
The Beacons will travel to top-seeded Norwich University next Saturday in the NEHC Championship game. Start time is to be determined.