BOSTON, Mass.—The University of New England (6-14-5, 3-11-3 ECAC East) scored with 7.7 seconds left in regulation to tie the game and 3:25 into overtime to earn a playoff spot, with a 4-3 overtime victory over UMass Boston women's hockey (9-12-4, 6-9-2 ECAC East) on Senior Day at the Beacons Ice Arena.
The Nor'Easters wrapped up the eighth and final spot in the upcoming ECAC East Tournament behind a hat trick from sophomore Shannon Smith. Smith scored twice in the third, including the game-tying goal, and then added the game-winner, to lift UNE to their first postseason bid-in their first season in the ECAC East.
UMass Boston honored their largest class in program history before the contest, as the Beacons' 11 seniors all played their final game at the Beacons Ice Arena.
With the loss, UMass Boston fell to sixth amongst the 10 Division III teams eligible for the ECAC East Tournament. The Beacons will travel to third-seeded Manhattanville College next Saturday for the ECAC East Quarterfinals. Last season, UMass Boston earned a 3-0 win at Manhattanville in the same round.
Freshman Alli Bianchini (Sterling Heights, Mich.) and junior Michaela Faia (Malden, Mass.) each recorded a goal and an assist in the regular-season finale for UMass Boston. Jenny Currie (Chelmsford, Mass.) tallied the final goal for the Beacons, who dropped their fourth-straight game.
In net, senior Kailyn Burke (Franklin, Mass.) took the loss after stopping 25 of 29 shots.
Sophomore Nor'Easter goalie Sydney Helmbrecht was phenomenal all afternoon for the visitors, as she turned aside 49 of 52 shots in the win.
Curry gave the Beacons an early 1-0 lead 16:42 into the contest, when her one-timer from the near post slid past Helmbrecht. Smith and Sullivan both picked up assists on the play.
That would end up being the lone goal scored in the first 40 minutes, as the Beacons couldn't add a second tally, despite outshooting UNE 28-16 through the first two periods.
Emily Corrales tied the game up for the visitors at 5:01 of the third, when she scored off passes from Annie Mullen and Melissa Boudreau.
The Nor'Easters took their first lead of the game 2:36 later, when Smith potted her first goal of the game to make it 2-1.
UMass Boston struck back just 32 seconds later, when Faia received passes from Bianchini and Smith and scored from the near post to tie the game at 2-2.
The Beacons grabbed the lead back 15:30, when Bianchini recorded her second collegiate goal. Bianchini found herself all alone in the near circle and slipped it past Helmbrecht for what looked to be the game-winning tally.
After the Nor'Easters failed to capitalized on a late power-play, UNE pulled their goalie with just 15 seconds to go. The Nor'Easters won an offensive-zone face-off and Smith beat Burke with 7.7 seconds to play, to send the game to overtime.
She capped off the hat trick at 3:25 of the overtime with a wrister to send the Nor'Easters home with a playoff bid.