Feb. 26, 2010

BOSTON, MA - The University of Massachusetts Boston women's ice hockey team earned the number three seed and will host sixth-seeded University of Southern Maine in the quarterfinals of the Eastern College Athletic Conference Tournament on Saturday, February 27 at 3:00 p.m. at the Clark Athletic Center.

The Beacons finished the regular season with a school-record total for overall and league victories with a 16-9-0 record, including 13-6-0 in ECAC East play, while the Huskies come to Boston at 11-12-2 and 9-10-0. The teams split the two regular season meetings, with each winning on their opponent's home ice. UMass Boston netted the first two goals of the first meeting in Gorham on January 22, Southern Maine answer with three straight goals, including two on the power play, over a 15-minute span to take a 3-2 edge into the third period. The Beacons put together their own offensive burst with three unanswered tallies in the final period to come away with the victory. Sophomore forward Sam Phillips (Scottsdale, AZ) capped the scoring with a short-handed goal for the eventual game-winner and led UMass Boston with two goals and a pair of assists, while classmate Leah Hallett (Rocky Hill, CT) stopped 22 shots to earn the win. Sophomore defenseman Lauren Whiting (Hampton, NH) netted two goals to lead the Huskies. The Huskies avenged the loss in Boston on February 13 with a brilliant 36-save shutout from sophomore goalie Kimmy Flanders (Monson, MA). Sophomore forward Christen Hart (Saugus, MA) netted a goal and assisted on another of the team's two first period scores. Hallett made 31 saves for the Beacons in the 2-0 defeat.

UMass Boston opened the season with four losses in its first five games, but regrouped to win 14 of its next 17 games, including a school-record eight game win streak during the final six weeks of the regular season. A pair of shutout losses to Southern Maine and Saint Anselm College were the only blemishes on the Beacons' slate since January 12. UMass Boston's offense has been potent all season, ranking 12th in the nation and fourth in ECAC East with 3.56 goals per game. The Beacons have allowed 2.52 goals per game to place sixth in the league and have been one of ECAC East's most disciplined squads with penalty minutes per game. They are led by senior forward Maria Nasta (Andover, MA) who is among NCAA Division III's best offensive players with 31 points on 17 goals and 14 assists. She ranks 16th among the nation's leaders in points and is 10th in goals per game. Nasta's been outstanding on the power play with a league-high 13 points, including six goals to stand 10th in Division III. Junior forward Rachel Sousa (Woburn, MA) has been one of the best playmakers in the league this season with a team-high 15 assists to rank 10th in ECAC East, while adding eight goals for 23 points to place 16th among the league leaders. Classmate Lauren Duran (Woburn, MA) continues to be one of the best goal-scorers for UMass Boston with 11, including a league-best four game-winners, which is also good for ninth in the nation. The winger has also been a key on the power play with five scores, while junior forward Kristen Smith (Beavercreek, OH) has been solid with 17 points, including nine goals. Junior defensemen Jazz Webber (Winslow, ME) and Hannah Davis (Oakdale, MN) anchor a potent-scoring blue line, combining for 27 points. Webber has been setting her teammates up all season with 13 assists to go with a pair of game-winning goals, while Davis has added four power play goals to her career total of 17, which is the second-most in school history. The Beacons will have to overcome the loss of Phillips, who has missed the final three games of the season with a concussion. She has 22 points on eight goals and 14 assists in 22 games. Hallett has proved to be one of the best goalies in the league, earning ECAC East Goalie of the Week honors four times. She's already set school records for games played (23), minutes played (1343:31), saves (761) and wins (14). She ranks second in Division III in saves and third in wins, while registering a gaudy .926 save percentage to place sixth in the league. Her 2.72 goals against average is the third lowest in school history.

Southern Maine ranks sixth in the league with 3.24 goals per game, bolstered by one of the finest first lines in the region. Sophomore forward Danielle Ward (Lansing, MI) is 11th in the nation with 1.32 points per game with 33 in 25 games and ninth with 0.84 assists per game. Classmate Katie Paradis (Rochester, NH) is tied with Ward with 21 assists in 25 games to go with 11 goals to give her 32 points and a spot among the national leaders with 1.28 points to rank 13th. Freshman forward Kailey Bubier (Auburn, ME) leads the Huskies with 16 goals, including seven on the power play to stand third among the Division III leaders. Her 0.64 goals per game places her 14th in the nation. Junior defenseman Mary Vaughan (Brunswick, ME) and Whiting have led the Southern Maine defense with 23 points between them. Whiting has six goals, while Vaughan's 11 assists rank third on the team. Flanders has had a huge impact since transferring from Manhattanville College in the middle of the season. The sophomore has posted an 8-4-0 mark since her debut on January 8, while the team has turned in a 3-8-2 record in her non-decisions. She has not allowed more than three goals in a game this season and has registered a 1.00 goals against average in her last four outings - all victories. Her 1.72 goals against mark is good for 16th among the nation's leaders, while her sterling save percentage of .942 ranks as the sixth-best in Division III.