BOSTON, Mass.—Johnson & Wales University leaped out to a 2-0 lead early in the second period over women's hockey and held on, behind a 34-save performance from freshman Jasmine Mucci.
Johnson & Wales 2, UMass Boston 1
(UMass Boston 7-10-2, New England Hockey Conference 4-5-2)
(Johnson & Wales 4-12-3, New England Hockey Conference 3-7-1)
HOW IT HAPPENED
Samantha Kawejsza and Drea Westgaard scored on either side of the first intermission break, to lead the Wildcats to their third-straight one-goal win over the Beacons.
Mucci came up huge for the visitors, posting at least 10 saves in every period and 34 total. The freshman came up huge in the period, as she stopped all 12 shots, including killing off two power-play chances.
Sophomore Katie Leffler (Key Largo, Fla.) finished off her strong weekend with the lone goal of the day for the Beacons. Julia Nolan (Duxbury, Mass.) and Cailey Kozich (Wexford, Pa.) picked up the assists on the Beacons' lone tally.
In net, Alyssa DePippo (Pittsburgh, Pa.) fell to 5-7-1 on the season, after making 18 saves on 20 shots.
UMass Boston came out firing in the opening minutes of the first period but couldn't put one past Mucci.
The Wildcats began to grow into the game and took the lead at 16:22 of the period. After the Beacons were whistled for an icing, the Beacons came away with the puck in their own end, but the Beacons attempt at wrapping the puck around the boards went off the side of the net. The puck bounced perfectly for Westgaard, who easily picked it up and then slid it past DePippo.
Johnson & Wales doubled their lead at 2:36 of the second period. A swarm of players on both sides met just outside the Beacons defensive zone with no one able to win the puck. Westgaard came up to the group and collected the puck along the boards, cut back towards the net and sent a hard backhand shot just over DePippo's glove for a 2-0 lead.
Leffler cut the deficit in half less than three minutes later. The third line moved the puck around the zone, before Leffler sent a backhand shot that Mucci never saw. The puck sat in between Mucci's skates, before Nolan and Leffler were able to poke it free and eventually into the back of the cage.
Neither side would find the back of the net again, thanks to strong play from both goaltenders.
Victoria Perez sent a shot through traffic for Johnson & Wales on the power-play that caught the post, but DePippo dove on top of the puck before the Wildcats could pounce on it.
She came up bigger even later in the third, when she madea strong push to her left, to deny a point-blank look from Kathy Ensor.
Mucci made her best stop of the day on Leffler with under six minutes to play. The Beacons leading goal-scorer came in on a mini-breakaway but was denied by Mucci with a left-leg save. The puck sat in the crease for several seconds, before the Beacons rebound opportunity was deflected wide by a Wildcats defenseman.
BY THE NUMBERS
- UMass Boston outshot Johnson & Wales 35-20 and held a 28-16 edge in face-offs.
- All four meetings between UMass Boston and Johnson & Wales have been decided by a single-goal. The Wildcats lead 3-1 all-time, after defeating the Beacons 3-2 in Rhode Island in November.
- UMass Boston finished 0-5 on the power-play, while the Wildcats went 0-2.
- Saturday's contest marked the Beacons' first home game since November 25.
UMass Boston will have a key road trip on Friday night, when they travel to take on second-place Suffolk University at 5:45 p.m.