March 5, 2011
NORTHFIELD, VT - Senior forward Jess Sciolo (North Reading, MA) netted the game-winning goal with 2:51 to play in the third period to lift the No. 10 Manhattanville College women's ice hockey team over the University of Massachusetts Boston, 2-1, in the semifinals of the ECAC East tournament at Kreitzberg Arena on the campus of Norwich University. With the win, the Valiants improve to 18-7-2 and advance to tomorrow's 3:00 p.m. championship game to face the winner of today's other semifinals matchup featuring the top seeded Cadets of Norwich and the sixth seeded Huskies of Southern Maine.
Sciolo's goal broke a 1-1 tie and propels the Valiants to their first ECAC Championship appearance since 2008. The forward ripped a slapshot from just inside the near circle that tipped off of the glove of UMass Boston junior goaltender Leah Hallett (Rocky Hill, CT) and into the back of the net. Senior forward Holly Nonis (Brampton, ONT) and sophomore forward Jessica Kehoe (Kemptville, ONT) were credited with assists on the score. Earlier in the final period, Manhattanville had evened the score at 1-1 at the 12:58 mark on sophomore forward Sonia Occhionerro's (Montreal, QUE) eighth goal of the season. Sophomore defenseman Charlotte Hotaling (Southfield, MI) ripped a shot from the left slot that Occhionerro redirected into the back of the net to even the contest. Until the goal, the Beacons had held the nation's sixth most potent offense (3.69 GPG) scoreless for 47:02 minutes of action.
The Beacons had the game's first good scoring opportunity 3:35 into the first period on the power play when senior forward Kristen Smith (Breavercreek, OH) tried to beat Manhattanville sophomore netminder Emy Cote (Saint-Hubert, QUE) when a backhanded wrist shot just in front of the goal that Cote was able to turn away. Later in the period, Hallett recorded her 2,000 career save on a shot by sophomore forward Ella Hubley (Santa Monica, CA) from just inside the blueline. Hallett is one of only two active goalies in the ECAC East, joining the company of New England College junior goalie Teraysa White, to have now registered more than 2,000 career saves.
The Valiants had a great scoring chance of their own with just over 4:00 minutes remaining in the opening frame when junior blueliner Hannah Muskego (Neilburg, SASK) ripped a shot from the point that deflected off a Beacon defenseman right to the stick of freshman forward Haleigh Hutchinson (Southgate, MI) who was camped out on Hallett's weak side post. Hutchinson was able to control the puck but her shot attempt sailed wide of the open left side of the net to keep the game scoreless. However, with 1:09 to play in the first, UMass Boston senior forward Katie Kirwan (Centerville, MA) gave the visitors a 1-0 lead with her sixth marker of the season. Senior forward Rachel Sousa (Woburn, MA) skated the puck into the Valiants zone, feeding Kirwan to the left of net before the senior sent a wrist shot over Cote's left shoulder to give the Beacons the one goal advantage heading into the first intermission. The tally was Kirwan's third career playoff goal and second in as many games.
With just under 6:00 minutes remaining in the second period, Manhattanville had its best scoring chance in the middle frame when junior forward Jackie Solomito (Sea Cliff, NY) ripped a shot from the right circle that Hallett was able to save with her pads but the rebound went right to the stick of sophomore forward Lynsey Schill (Waterloo, ONT). Schill beat Hallett with a low slapshot to the far post but the puck caromed off the pipe before the play was whistled dead after the net came ajar from its pegs.
For Manhattanville, Cote earned the win with 11 saves to improve to 11-5-2 on the year. Hallett finished the game with 31 saves and now has 2,026 in her career to rank first all-time in UMB history.
The Beacons finish the 2010-11 campaign with a 14-11-1 overall mark.