Top 13 of 2013: Women's Hockey Upsets Castleton State In ECAC East Quarterfinals
This is the seventh in our Top 13 of 2013 series. Every day for the rest of 2013, we will count down the Top 13 moments/games of the year, with each program represented. With three Little East Conference Titles, several huge upsets over nationally ranked teams and some dramatic finishes-2013 was another step forward for UMass Boston Athletics.
Lacrosse goalie Henry Bristol, #8 on our countdown, wasn't the only goalie to turn in an eye-opening performance in 2013, in fact his standout game wasn't even the best of the spring: that honor lies with women's hockey goalie Casey Schaejbe (Arlington, Mass.).
Schaejbe and the women's hockey team headed into their Little East Quarterfinal matchup at Castleton State College on February 23 as major underdogs. The fifth-seeded Beacons were still looking for their first win in February (0-4-1) and had failed to score more than two goals in all five games. Add in the fact that the Spartans had already downed UMB 4-3 in their first matchup of the year and women's hockey's prospects didn't look bright.
That's when their freshman goaltender turned in the top postseason performance from a goalie in program history, to lead the Beacons to an improbable 5-3 upset victory. Schaejbe stopped 49 of the 52 shots she faced to set a new postseason program record, which also ranked sixth most in program history for a single game. In all the Arlington, Mass. native posted 16 or more saves in all three periods, including a perfect 16-of-16 in the third period.
But Schaejbe's performance alone wasn't what made the team's performance and the game so remarkable.
UMass Boston broke out of their scoring drought in a big way, grabbing a 3-0 lead just 2:26 into the second period. The lead wouldn't last though, as Castleton State fired back with three late scores in the period, to send the two teams into the locker room tied at 3-3.
All the while, Castleton State head coach Bill Bowes attempted to play mind tricks with the Beacons, switching between his two goaltenders a stunning 18 times throughout the contest.
The second-period theatrics set up a tense third period, with both team's seasons on the line.
UMass Boston took the lead for good with 7:11 to play, thanks to an unlikely hero. The Beacons' leading scorer Emily Howard (Terryville, Conn.) skated into the Spartans' zone on a short-handed chance, only to be denied by Castleton State goalie Paula Stephens from point-blank range. With the rebound lying out in front of the crease, then-sophomore Alyssa Sullivan (Medford, Mass.) dashed to the puck and lifted it over Stephens' pads, for just her second goal of the season and her first career game-winning goal.
Senior assistant captain Emily LaRosa (Weymouth, Mass.) sealed the victory with her second goal of the game with under three minutes to play, to help UMass Boston advance to their seventh ECAC East Tournament Semifinals in eight years.