MANCHESTER, N.H. (February 27, 2016) – The third-seeded Franklin Pierce University women's ice hockey team struggled to generate offense all afternoon on Saturday at Sullivan Arena, as it was outshot by second-seeded Saint Anselm, 36-8, in the second semifinal of the New England Hockey Conference Open Tournament. Saint Anselm was able to strike twice in the final seven minutes of the second period, providing the game's only offense, as the Hawks posted a 2-0 win. Franklin Pierce junior goaltender Noelle White (Corona, Calif.) made 34 saves for the Ravens in defeat.
With the loss, Franklin Pierce falls to 16-8-1, while Saint Anselm improves to 21-5-0. Franklin Pierce will meet fifth-seeded Saint Michael's, which was trounced by top seed Holy Cross, 9-2, in Saturday's first semifinal, in Sunday's consolation game, scheduled for 1 p.m. at Sullivan Arena. Saint Anselm and Holy Cross will follow in the championship game at 4 p.m.
The first period went scoreless on Saturday afternoon, but was not without its scoring chances. Saint Anselm controlled the run of play for much of the period, to the tune of a 12-5 advantage in shots on goal at the first intermission. For Saint Anselm, junior forward Alex Starzyk put the puck just wide from the left side, possibly grazing the right post in the process, eight minutes into the proceedings. White later flashed the right pad to stop junior forward Meaghan Spurling in the slot with 7:30 left in the frame.
In the second half of the opening frame, Saint Anselm appeared to stuff home a rebound, but the goal was immediately washed out by the officials, who ruled the puck was kicked into the net. Senior forward Karsyn Baker (Detroit, Mich.) followed with Franklin Pierce's best chance of the period, but her attempt on a partial breakaway was smothered by Saint Anselm junior goaltender Hannah Synnott.
Keyed by a late power play after junior defenseman Katie Flynn (Sandwich, Mass.) hauled down senior forward Alex Kazmer behind the net, Saint Anselm buzzed the Franklin Pierce net for much of the final three minutes. On the penalty kill, junior forward Alison Butler had the best chance, as her redirect whistled just wide of the right post. White came up with another key save in the final minute, this time through traffic against senior defenseman Halle Kent from the point, to keep the game scoreless into the first intermission.
Saint Anselm finally opened the scoring with a pair of goals late in the second period. First, at the 13:17 mark, sophomore forward Kaitlyn Spillane took a feed in the right circle from Starzyk on the right side. As she drifted towards the slot, Spillane rifled a wrist shot to the top-left corner for her eighth goal of the season. Senior forward Sarah Geisinger picked up an assist on the play as well.
Less than three minutes later, at the 16:10 mark, Kent had her shot from the point stopped by White, but sophomore defenseman Samantha Boyer was on the scene at the right post to stuff home a rebound for her first collegiate goal. Starzyk notched her second assist of the day on the play.
Franklin Pierce went to the power play late in the period, after Spurling was whistled for taking out Baker. Senior forward Colleen Doucette (Wakefield, Mass.) had the best chance on the man-advantage, as she walked out front from the right-wing corner, but her backhand attempt went wide on the far side. Senior defenseman Hayley Arnold (Barre, Vt.) teed up a slap shot just after the penalty expired, but it was fired wide as well, and the Hawks took their 2-0 lead into the second intermission. Franklin Pierce managed just one shot on goal in the second period, with Saint Anselm holding a 24-6 advantage in that department through two periods.
Saint Anselm continued its strong defensive play in the third period, as it held Franklin Pierce to just two further shots in the final stanza. The Ravens' last chance to claw back into the game came after Saint Anselm sophomore defenseman Jackie Guy was penalized for checking at the 12:11 mark. However, Franklin Pierce could not get a shot on target on the man-advantage and the Hawks were able to ultimately finish off the shutout, 2-0.
White (8-4-0) piled up 34 saves on the afternoon, but was stuck with the loss between the pipes for Franklin Pierce. At the other end of the ice, Synnott (19-3-0) stopped all eight shots she faced to pick up the win and her ninth shutout of the season.
For more information on Franklin Pierce Athletics, please visit the official website of Franklin Pierce Athletics (http://athletics.franklinpierce.edu). Also be sure to follow the Ravens through the Department of Athletics' official Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/FranklinPierceRavens), its YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/franklinpiercesports) and its Twitter feed (http://twitter.com/FPUathletics). Fans wishing to purchase Franklin Pierce women's ice hockey apparel can do so at the Department of Athletics' online store (http://athletics.franklinpierce.edu/store).