Jan. 23, 2009

Box Score

HARRISVILLE, RI - Junior forward Katelyn Lajoie (Marlboro, MA) netted her first career hat trick to lead the University of Massachusetts Boston women's ice hockey team over host Nichols College, 8-1, tonight in an Eastern College Athletic Conference East Division A contest in Harrisville, RI.

Lajoie becomes the sixth player in school history to record a hat trick and the first since junior forward Maria Nasta (Andover, MA) tallied three goals against Connecticut College on November 20, 2007. The win improves the Beacons' record to 8-6-1 overall and 7-3-1 in conference play, while the Bison fall to 1-13-1 and 0-10-1 in their first season of collegiate hockey.

Lajoie opened the scoring 7:16 into the contest when senior forward Maria Guanci (Everett, MA) found her to give UMass Boston a 1-0 edge, which would be the score after the first period. The game-winner for the Beacons was scored early in the second making the score 2-0 when freshman forward Kelly Gillis (Northford, CT) found the back of the net to score her eighth goal on the year at the 3:49 mark off of an assist from freshman defenseman Emily Brienzo (Greenfield, WI).

The Lajoie - Guanci connection hooked up again 9:19 into the second period to put UMB on top by a 3-0 margin before sophomore forward Katie Kirwan (Centerville, MA) got into the action netting her second goal of the season at the 11:28 mark on another Brienzo assist to increase the Beacons' lead to 4-0. Sophomore defenseman Jazz Webber (Winslow, Maine) capped the scoring blitz with a slapshot from the center of the blue line that snuck through junior goalie Melissa Mansfield's five hole. Whitney Fraleigh (Fresno, CA) earned the assist with the set up.

Nichols got on the board first in the third period, as freshman forward Cheryl Pitts (Wakefield, MA) centered the puck to sophomore forward Sydney Gilbert (Portage La Prairie, Manitoba), whose backhanded sweep slipped the puck between the right post and the left skate of Beacons' netminder Leah Hallett (Rocky Hill, CT) cutting the lead to 5-1.

The Beacons did not let the score faze them and added three goals late in the final frame, including a pair just 22 seconds apart in the final minute to seal the game. Nasta factored in the trio, first setting up sophomore defender Hannah Davis (Oakdale, MN) on the power play at 15:24. She then connected with Lajoie in a crowd of bodies in front of the Nichols net at 19:36 to give Lajoie a hat trick and fourth goal on the season. Nasta wound up for a slapshot from the point that was tipped into the goal by Kristen Smith (Beavercreek, OH) with two seconds remaining in the contest to make the final score 8-1, UMass Boston. Nasta now has 16 assists on the season which leads the team and has tallied at least one point in all but two games.

Hallett finished with 20 saves in her fourth win of the season. Mansfield allowed five goals while making 21 saves in 33 minutes of action before giving way to Christine Mazza (Dedham, MA.), who stopped 10 shots and allowed three goals in the final 27 minutes.

The Beacons held a 39-21 shot advantage, and finished 2-for-7 on the power play. Nichols wrapped up the night 0-for-1 with the man advantage, but did manage to hold UMass Boston scoreless on a pair of five-on-three power plays.

The Beacons head to Newport, RI to face Salve Regina University on Saturday, January 24 at 8:00 pm while Nichols travels to Rye, NY to face number 10 nationally-ranked Manhattanville College tomorrow for a 3:00 p.m. contest.