January 3, 2012

Women’s Hockey Suffers Overtime Loss to Bowdoin in Codfish Championship

BOSTON, Mass. – With only five seconds remaining in the overtime period tournament MVP Kim Tess-Wanat capped off a standout tournament by scoring the game-winning goal to give the Polar Bears of Bowdoin College (3-3-2) a 2-1 win over women's hockey (5-6-2) and the program's first UMass Boston Codfish Bowl title Tuesday afternoon in the Clark Athletic Center.

With the victory, Bowdoin became the first team other than Trinity College (Conn.) to skate away with the tournament championship.  Trinity a conference rival of the Polar Bears won the Codfish every year since its inception in 2008.

Tess-Wanat earned her tournament MVP honors by netting both goals in Tuesday's game.  The forward finished the tournament with a combined five goals and three assists.  Assisting both of Bowdoin's goals was Kayte Holtz, while Dominique Lozzi assisted her team's first score, and Madeline Lane assisted the game-winning tally.

For the Beacons, their tremendous performance was fueled by senior goalie Leah Hallett (Rocky Hill, Conn.), who totaled 40 saves on the day.  The Connecticut native ended the two-day affair with a total of 58 stops respectively to earn a place on the All-Tournament team.  Kayla Kiernan (North Smithfield, R.I.) netted the Beacons lone goal, which at the time completely shifted the momentum in favor of UMass Boston.

Kiernan, who was also named to the All-Tournament team, netted her fourth goal of the season and second of the tournament at 4:46 in the second period.  Emily Howard (Terryville, Conn.) and Brittany Usmail (New Hartford, N.Y.) picked-up the assist for the then game-tying goal. 

In the shots column Bowdoin led the host Beacons as they outshot them 42-27.  Both teams did not allow a power-play goal, with Bowdoin finishing 0-for-4 and UMass Boston 0-for-3 on their man-up opportunities. 

The Polar Bears, coming off of their 7-2 rout of Sacred Heart University yesterday afternoon, answered first in Tuesday's championship game.  Tess-Wanat showing complete control of the puck skated through the Beacons defense to end the scoreless draw at 16:31 of the opening period.

Despite letting up the first period score, UMass Boston did not back down, in fact they actually picked-up their level of play.  Showing some tremendous conditioning the two teams battled back-and-forth throughout the final minutes of the period before heading into the locker room.

After the first intermission, UMass Boston came out firing.  They peppered Bowdoin goalie and All-Tournament honoree Kayla Lessard throughout the second period.  Following the Kiernan score which tied it at 1-1, the Beacons defense, led by Hallett completely neutralized the Polar Bears offense. 

Sophomore Tori Pizzuto (Waterbury, Conn.) was not only a threat in the Beacons defensive end, but her slap shot nearly gave UMass Boston lead late in the second as she blasted the puck off of Lessard's right shoulder.

With the second period coming to a close, the third turned out to be an all-out war as neither team wanted to go into overtime to determine the winner.  The third would once again see Bowdoin lead in shots taken, but it was truly anyone's game to win.  With neither team backing down throughout the final 20 minutes, and Hallett and Lessard putting on a clinic between the pipes regulation came to a close with the score still even at 1-1.

The overtime would prove to be Bowdoin's from the second the puck hit the ice.  The Polar Bears dominated the five minute period, never once allowing the Beacons to build any momentum. 

As time continued to wind down the Beacons defense did everything in their power to hold off the charging Polar Bears.  Unfortunately, Tess-Wanat would push the puck to the far post and across the goal line just as time was set to expire.

Also earning All-Tournament accolades from Bowdoin was Emily Tang.

Women's hockey returns to action next Saturday when they travel to St. Anselm for a 1 p.m. ECAC East contest.

5th Annual Codfish Bowl All-Tournament Team
Melissa Robbins - Sacred Heart University
Jordan Schildhaus - Wesleyan University
Leah Hallett - UMass Boston
Kayla Kiernan - UMass Boston
Emily Tang - Bowdoin College
Kayla Lessard - Bowdoin College

Tournament MVP
Kim Tess-Wanat - Bowdoin College