Feb. 27, 2010
BOSTON, MA - Senior forward Maria Nasta (Andover, MA) registered her fourth career hat trick to lead the number three seed University of Massachusetts Boston women's ice hockey team over visiting sixth-seeded University of Southern Maine, 6-2, this afternoon in the quarterfinals of the Eastern College Athletic Conference East tournament at the Clark Athletic Center on the campus of UMass Boston. The Beacons improve on their best-ever record at 17-9-0, while the Huskies finish their season at 11-13-2. UMass Boston tied the school-record for most goals in a playoff game, matching its total from a 6-4 road victory over Rochester Institute of Technology on February 28, 2004. The margin of victory matches a 5-1 win over Castleton State College in the 2008 quarterfinals on March 1.
The Beacons advance to play number two seed Norwich University on Saturday, March 6 at 5:00 p.m. in Rye, NY at the Playland Ice Casino in the semifinals, which will be hosted by top-seeded Manhattanville College. Norwich defeated seventh-seeded Castleton State College, 5-1, today and Manhattanville College beat eight seed Nichols College, 11-1.
UMass Boston's penalty kill unit was tremendous, killing off 11 power play opportunities, including nine in the final two periods to hold Southern Maine scoreless for the final 44:54 of action. The Beacons were just 1-7 on its own power play.
UMass Boston netted the first two goals of the day when junior forwards Katie Kirwan (Centerville, MA) and Kristen Smith (Beavercreek, OH) combined to find freshman forward Alli Greenberg (Stoughton, MA) for her eighth tally of the year at the 8:24 mark of the first period. The Beacons didn't waste any time lighting the lamp again when Nasta located junior forward Rachel Sousa (Woburn, MA) for her ninth score of the season, just 68 seconds later to give UMass Boston a 2-0 lead.
The Huskies got on the board when sophomore forwards Danielle Ward (Lansing, MI) and Kylie Blasen (Okemos, MI) teamed to set up classmate Katie Paradis (Rochester, NH) for her 12th goal of the campaign at the 12:16 mark of the opening period to cut the deficit in half at 2-1. The Beacons answered right away when sophomore forward Karoline Perdios (Braintree, MA) and Sousa assisted Nasta on her first goal of the afternoon just 24 seconds later at 12:40 for a 3-1 margin. Southern Maine answered the bell again and pulled to within a goal at 15:06 of the initial period, thanks to the seventh goal of the year from freshman forward Colleen Callahan (Woburn, MA) on a shot that found its way past the Beacons' goalie. Senior defenseman Erica Robertson (Saint Albans, VT) and sophomore forward Jana Sacco (Niagara Falls, NY) were credited with the helper. That would be the last score of the day for the Huskies as UMass Boston netted the final three goals.
Nasta took the air out of a four-on-three Southern Maine power play when she carried the puck from end to end and finished with a spectacular shot that found the back of the net for a shorthanded tally at 7:59 of the second period and a 4-2 lead for the home team. The Beacons increased their advantage to 5-2 when Smith found Kirwan for her sixth goal of the season on a five-on-three power play advantage at 6:36 of the final period. Nasta capped the scoring with an empty netted short-handed goal with 23 seconds left to play to give UMass Boston a 6-2 lead and become the first Beacons' player to score three goals in a playoff contest since Melissa Belmonte (2003-07) scored four times at RIT in the 2004 quarterfinals. Nasta's short-handed goal, which was assisted by Kirwan, tied an NCAA record for short-handed goals in a game and gives her a school-record six for her career.
Sophomore Leah Hallett (Rocky Hill, CT) stopped 32 shots to earn the victory, while breaking the UMass Boston mark for career minutes played with 2601:08. Sophomore Kimmy Flanders (Monson, MA) turned away 25 of 30 shots in 59:23 of action for the Huskies.