BOSTON, Mass. – For the first time in program history the women's ice hockey team will be packing their bags and traveling to Vermont to face the Spartans of Castleton State College in the quarterfinal round of the 2013 ECAC East tournament. The No. 5 Beacons will face the No. 4 Spartans on Saturday, February 23 at 1 p.m. at Spartan Arena.
The Beacons, who carry a record of 6-3 in the quarterfinal round of the ECAC East tournament are looking to avenge a loss to the Spartans from earlier this season. UMass Boston will be making their 10th appearance in the conference tournament this weekend. It will also mark the third time that UMB has played a postseason game in the state of Vermont since the program's founding.
UMass Boston is looking to earn their first conference victory since defeating Salve Regina University by the final of 3-2 in overtime in 2011. That year the Beacons dropped a heartbreaker to Manhattanville College by the final of 2-1 in the semi's. Overall the Beacons carry a 6-9 record in the ECAC East tournament and are looking to make their first-ever trip to the championship game this season.
Against the Spartans, women's hockey leads the all-time series having won 14 of the 16 times they have shared the ice. The loss earlier this year marked the first win by the Spartans, while last year the two skated to a 1-1 draw in the regular-season finale in the Clark Ice Arena.
For head coach Colleen Harris, she is looking to make a serious push in this year's tournament after a year that was plagued by injury. Harris' Beacons have had to overcome numerous season ending injuries on both sides of the red-line, but she has seen strong play from her two netminders Casey Schaejbe (Arlington, Mass.) and Kailyn Burke (Franklin, Mass.).
On the year, the two have combined for 618 stops respectively, with both players each recording four wins on the year. Schaejbe leads the duo in minutes played with 916, having played in 16 games in her rookie season. Burke stepped onto the ice around the midway point of the season and picked-up some key wins for the Beacons including a 4-0 win over New England College. For Schaejbe her season-best performance was without a doubt when the Beacons upset nationally ranked Manhattanville College after she made 30 stops.
Offensively, UMB goes into this weekend with six players who have recorded 10 or more points. Sophomore Emily Howard (Terryville, Conn.) became the first player since the 2010-11 season to record 10 goals in a single season, as she ranks fourth on the team with 11 points. She is also the Beacons top power-play scorer having netted three of UMB's nine power-play tallies. Seniors Alli Greenberg (Stoughton, Mass.) and Emily LaRosa (Weymouth, Mass.) are tied for first in points with 14 each and are in a four-way tie for second in goals scored with six and are the two top playmakers with their eight assists each.
Defensively, UMass has seen some tremendous play from newcomers Kelsey MacIsaac (Durham, N.H.) and Samantha Fallon (Pembroke, Mass.). The duo has not only played a major part in limiting the opposition's offense, but they have also shown that they are not afraid to pull the trigger when the opportunity presents itself. In the win over Manhattanville, Fallon netted a pair of goals, with MacIsaac also picking-up three assists in the huge conference victory.
With a win on Saturday the Beacons will advance to the semi-final round of the tournament, which will be played on Saturday, March 2 at a site to be determined. This year's championship will be played on March 3 with this year's winner earning the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III tournament.