NORTHFIELD, Vt. – A Nicole Mensi hat trick carried the second-seeded Valiants of Manhattanville College to a 4-2 win over third-seeded women's hockey in the New England Hockey Conference Tournament semi-final Friday evening at Kreitzberg Arena.
UMass Boston 2, Manhattanville College 4
UMass Boston (19-7-0)
Manhattanville College (17-8-2)
HOW IT HAPPENED
Even at 2-2 in the third period, Zoey Pellowitz gave the Valiants their first lead of the night at the 7:32 mark. The Beacons played most of the third in their own defensive end, but did have a couple of huge opportunities late in the frame.
A late power-play opportunity for the Valiants nearly turned into the Beacons game-tying goal, as Kaleigh Beauregard (Gaylord, Mich.) went one-on-one with Manhattanville's goaltender, but came up just short on the equalizer.
The Valiants clinched the victory on an empty-netter from Mensi that was nearly batted down by senior defenseman Kat Armstrong (Kingston, Ont.).
In the opening period, the Beacons would strike first on a power-play bullet from Emily Harris (Littleton, Colo.). The sophomore fired the puck off the inside top corner of the goal beating the Valiants Rose Pijaca. UMB would hold that 1-0 lead into the first intermission, as both teams were evenly matched through 20 minutes of play.
The second period saw Mensi score her first equalizer of the night on the power-play at the 11:30 mark. However, UMass would respond right back on a great piece of skating by Rachel Peacock (Billerica, Mass.). The freshman forward collected the puck in the neutral zone and skated around Manhattanville's entire defensive end, only to end up with a one-on-one chance with Pijaca.
Showing tremendous composure, Peacock went right at Pijaca and beat the goalie to the high near post to make it a 2-1 game. Unfortunately, the momentum from that goal was short lived as the Valiants quickly tied the score 50 seconds later thanks to Mensi's second of the night.
The third and final period was controlled mostly by the Valiants, with the Beacons defense doing everything they could to keep the score even. In the final minute of the frame, the Beacons went to the empty-netter and came-up just short on two solid chances.
Rachel Myette (Duxbury, Mass.) made 31 saves in the loss, while Pijaca finished with 16 stops.
With the win the Valiants will face Norwich University in the championship game tomorrow at 3 p.m.
BY THE NUMBERS
- On the night, the Beacons finished 2-for-4 on the power-play, while the Valiants went 1-for-6
- The Beacons end their season with a program record 19 wins (19-7)
- Friday's contest marked the final in the careers of Armstrong, Kristen Embrey (Highlands Ranch, Colo.), Sara Alonardo (Wilmington, Mass.), and Lizzie Aveson (West Covina, Calif.)