BOSTON, Mass—Behind goals from juniors Sarahanne Cavolo (Roxbury, N.H.) and Katie Loiselle (Glocester, R.I.), UMass Boston (4-6-1) advanced to the Codfish Bowl Tournament Championship Game for the fifth time in six years with a 2-1 win over Stevenson University (4-7) Thursday afternoon.
The Beacons jumped out to a 2-0 lead just over halfway through the contest and withstood a 5-on-3 and 6-on-4 in the waning moments of the contest to earn their first two-game winning streak of the year.
Both UMass Boston goals came from their first line, as Cavolo, Loiselle and center Dylan Caron (Burrillville, R.I.) played together for the first time the season. The lineup shift worked wonders, as Cavolo scored her fourth goal in three games, while Loiselle scored her first goal of the season.
Mckenzie Taggart scored the lone goal for the Mustangs, who have lost four in a row after a 4-3 start.
In net, Kailyn Burke (Franklin, Mass.) continued her fantastic streak, making 23 saves on 24 shots. She extended her scoreless streak to over 120 minutes dating back to November 30 with a scoreless first two periods, and stopped the first 17 shots she saw.
Freshman netminder Mackenezie Bruch was nearly as impressive for Stevenson, making 36 stops on 38 shots.
UMass Boston got on the board first at the 8:28 mark, when Cavolo forced a turnover in the Stevenson end and sent a shot through Bruch's pads and into the back of the net. Caron picked up her fourth assist of the year on the play.
The Beacons would keep the momentum going into the break, as they outshot the Mustangs 15-7 in the first stanza.
After an even first ten minutes of play to begin the second, UMB doubled their lead with a power-play goal. Sophomore defenseman Kelsey MacIsaac (Durham, N.H.) sent a shot from the blue-line that bounced off Bruch's pads and right to Loisele; the junior winger picked up the puck and sent a backhand shot into the crease that trickled by Bruch to make it 2-0.
Stevenson would respond in a huge way in the third period, as they found the back of the net once and hit the pipes twice more. Karly Vis got the first good chance for the Mustangs early on in the period, as she sent a shot over Burke's shoulder from the left circle that wrapped it's away around the underside of the crossbar, before bouncing harmlessly into the corner.
Taggart made it 2-1 just minutes later, when she received passes from Jessie Capanelli and Molly O'Neill on the power-play and buried the puck from just outside the crease at the 8:57 mark.
The Mustangs would have another chance that bounced off of Burke's glove and off the crossbar behind her, but their best opportunities to score came in the final minutes.
After Molly O'Neill took a penalty at 15:34 to give the Beacons a power-play, UMass Boston took a penalty 30 seconds later to even the sides at 4-on-4. With 16 seconds left on the original penalty to Kelly Sharlow (Potsdam, N.Y.), UMass Boston defenseman Alexa Cappione (Massena, N.Y.) was whistled for tripping to give the Mustangs a 5-on-3 with 2:11 to go.
UMass Boston won the faceoff after a Mustangs timeout but found themselves skating 6-on-4 16 seconds later, when Stevenson head coach Shera Vis pulled Bruch.
Stevenson sent several good looks at the net in the final two minutes, but each shot sailed just wide or connected with the body of a Beacons defender in front of the net. An icing call with 10 seconds to play sealed the Beacons victory and a trip back to the championship game.
UMass Boston will take on the winner of Plymouth State and Lake Forest University Friday at 4 p.m. looking for their first ever Codfish Bowl Championship. Stevenson University will play the loser of Thursday's second game on Friday at 1 p.m.