WINCHENDON, Mass. (February 22, 2017) – Despite piling up a 31-13 advantage in shots on goal over the first two periods, the third-seeded Franklin Pierce University women's ice hockey team headed for the third period stuck in a 1-1 tie with fifth-seeded Saint Michael's on Wednesday night at Jason Ritchie Ice Arena. Senior forward Marisa Ketterman (Palmer, Alaska) needed just 42 seconds in the final stanza to rectify the situation, as she put home the game-winning goal off a faceoff to help pull the Ravens to a 3-1 win in the first round of the New England Hockey Conference Open Tournament.
With the win, Franklin Pierce improves to 18-6-1 and advances to Saturday's semifinal round, while Saint Michael's sees its season draw to a close at 4-21-0. The weekend portion of the tournament will be hosted by Sacred Heart University at Sports Center of Connecticut in Shelton, Conn. The Ravens will square off with second-seeded Holy Cross at 1 p.m. in Saturday's first semifinal. Fourth-seeded Sacred Heart will follow in the second semifinal against top seed Saint Anselm at 4 p.m.
Franklin Pierce struck for the only goal of the first period, just 2:26 into the proceedings on Wednesday night. Saint Michael's turned the puck over while clearing its own end, with Franklin Pierce freshman defenseman Katie Neuburger (Fayetteville, N.Y.) taking possession while backtracking in the neutral zone. Neuburger flicked the puck to her right for fellow freshman defenseman Bridgette Prentiss (Buffalo, N.Y.), who circled and made her way into the offensive zone on the right-wing side. She found a lane to the right circle and then sniped the top-left corner for her second goal of the season, beating Saint Michael's senior goaltender Tina Frasca over the blocker shoulder on the far side.
Saint Michael's answered at the 7:08 mark of the second period, to level the score at 1-1. Freshman defenseman Arianna Boscia took control of the puck along the boards on the right-wing side of the neutral zone and flipped it ahead towards the offensive blue line. Cutting from left to right, senior forward Athena Akiki touched the puck to freshman forward Jordan Monbouquette as the two crossed paths, and the latter took the puck cutting left into the zone. Monbouquette uncorked her shot from the left circle, as Franklin Pierce junior defenseman Erin Pengeroth (Acton, Mass.) challenged the shot. It appeared the shot deflected off the blade of Pengeroth's stick, which redirected the puck over the blocker shoulder of senior goaltender Shannon O'Neil (Tewksbury, Mass.) and into the top-left corner for Monbouquette's second goal of the year.
With the game tied through two, Franklin Pierce took the lead for good less than a minute after the second intermission. The game-winning goal came immediately off of a faceoff in the offensive end. Freshman forward Kayla Trujillo (Pueblo, Colo.) took the draw for Franklin Pierce, but was tied up by junior forward Kaitlyn Wurzer after the puck dropped. Ketterman swooped in from the left-wing side of the circle, fished out the puck from between the battling centers and cut towards the net. She was able to slip her 14th goal of the campaign past Frasca on the short side to give the Ravens a 2-1 lead at the 42-second mark.
The Ravens maintained the slim, 2-1 margin through the majority of the third period, including a key penalty kill beginning at the 13:32 mark, which represented the only man-advantage opportunity for Saint Michael's on the night. Franklin Pierce cashed in an insurance marker with just 1:13 to play, to create the 3-1 final. Senior defenseman Katie Flynn (Sandwich, Mass.) gained control on the left-wing side of the neutral zone, at the red line. She chipped the puck off the boards to senior forward Michelle Holmes (Goffstown, N.H.), who was circling back across the offensive blue line. Holmes took the puck in stride, cut to the middle of the ice and found a seam into the right-wing circle. From there, she made a power move around the last defender, towards the right post, and put a backhander past Frasca on the short side for her team-leading 16th goal of the season.
The Purple Knights called their timeout after the Holmes goal and got Frasca to the bench for the extra attacker over the final 47 seconds, but could not find another goal, as the Ravens came away with the 3-1 victory.
O'Neil (15-5-1) finished with 16 saves against 17 shots to pick up the win in net for Franklin Pierce. At the other end of the ice, Frasca (3-12-0) piled up 39 saves against 42 shots, but suffered the loss for Saint Michael's.
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).