Preview: Women’s Hockey Hits the Road for Huge Conference Weekend

BOSTON, Mass. - Home ice playoff implications are on the line this weekend as women's ice hockey travels to Plymouth State University (Friday, 6 p.m.) and the University of Southern Maine (Saturday, 1 p.m.) in the final weekend of the 2013-14 regular season.

WEEKEND COVERAGE

Live video will be available for both contests and will be provided by the Plymouth State and Southern Maine sport information departments.  There will also be live stats for Friday's contest at Plymouth

Plymouth State University (Fri., Feb. 14 at 6 p.m.)
Live Stats: http://livestats.prestosports.com/plymouth/wice/?e=f8mfapafcj67o6an
Live Video: http://www.littleeast.tv/play/index.cfm?fuseaction=embstay&id=421CB7AF15

University of Southern Maine (Sat., Feb. 15 at 1 p.m.)
Live Video: http://www.littleeast.tv/play/index.cfm?fuseaction=embstay&id=40162A1822

WHAT'S ON THE LINE

Currently sitting sixth in the standings the Beacons will need one of the following scenarios to happen if they are to host a first round ECAC East tournament game in Boston.

  1. The Beacons win both of their games while Manhattanville drops or ties one if not both games.  The Valiants are scheduled to face Salve Regina University and Holy Cross.
  2. If UMass Boston was to tie one and win one they would once again need the Valiants to lose both games.

If the Beacons lose either of their games this weekend they will be on the road for the ECAC East tournament as either the fifth or sixth seed. 

LOOKING BACK AT THE YEAR THAT WAS

After a slow start to the 2013-14 season, head coach Colleen Harris' squad got on the same page in early December which then sparked a seven game unbeaten streak.  During that run UMass picked-up their first-ever Codfish Bowl Tournament title, with an impressive 2-0 win over Connecticut College.

They also tied a very tough University of St. Thomas (Minn.) squad and shutout Division II rival St. Anselm College by the final of 1-0.  After a loss to Castleton State College, The Beacons rebounded with an 8-0 trouncing of New England College, before falling to the regular season champions Norwich University. 

Since then UMass has won three of its last five and has one tie as well (1-1 at Manhattanville).  Their only loss was to Salve Regina University last Friday in the Clark Ice Arena.

LOOKING AT THE PANTHERS AND HUSKIES ALL-TIME

This weekend's series marks the first time that UMass Boston will face both Plymouth State and Southern Maine in conference action this year.  In December the Beacons shutout the Huskies by the final of 3-0 in a non-conference contest which saw Casey Schaejbe (Arlington, Mass) make a combined 16 saves. All-time the Beacons are 6-1-1 against the Panthers, while facing the Huskies they are 15-6-0 overall.

WHAT THEY NEED TO DO TO GET IT DONE THIS WEEKEND

If the Beacons are to earn a huge four points this weekend they will need their two netminders in Schaejbe and Moe Bradley (Swampscott, Mass.) to be on-point from the second they step on the ice to the final horn.  The duo has anchored UMass Boston all year long, especially during their impressive run in the second half of the season.  Combined they have 578 saves in over 1,300 minutes of action and have record four shutouts respectively.

Offensively the Beacons will need to continue their recent trend of scoring early and often to take their opponents out of the game.  Coupled with the strong play of their defense UMass Boston should have no problem returning to Boston with a pair of victories.

Recently UMass has seen a variety of players elevate their offensive games, but none has stood out more than sophomore Samantha Fallon (Pembroke, Mass.).  The Pembroke native enters this weekend with a team best 14 goals and 17 points, and also leads the team in power-play goals with five, first goals scored with three, and game-winners with two.  Alyssa Sullivan (Medford, Mass.) has been a go-to playmaker as she sits with nine assists, followed by Tori Pizzuto (Waterbury, Conn.) who is second with eight helpers.

Sullivan also is one of four Beacons to have 10 or more points going into this weekend with 13.  Katie Loiselle (Glocester, R.I.) and Pizzuto sit tied for third with 11 points each.  Sophomore transfer Jenny Currie (Chelmsford, Mass.) has also proven to be a dangerous scorer as she sits with six goals.