SHELTON, Conn. (February 25, 2017) – It was a struggle to find offense all afternoon at Sports Center of Connecticut on Saturday for the third-seeded Franklin Pierce University women's ice hockey team, which dropped a 3-0 decision to second-seeded Holy Cross in the first semifinal of the New England Hockey Conference Open Tournament, hosted by Sacred Heart. Holy Cross got a first-period goal from junior forward Kara Violette and third-period markers from senior defenseman Isabela Bagi and sophomore forward Aubrey Ashmun to come away winners.
With the loss, Franklin Pierce falls to 18-7-1 and will play in the consolation round of the Open Tournament at 1 p.m. on Sunday, against the loser of Saturday's second semifinal, which features fourth-seeded Sacred Heart and top seed Saint Anselm. With the win, Holy Cross improves to 22-4-0 and advances to Sunday's 4 p.m. championship contest, against the Saint Anselm/Sacred Heart winner. At press time, Saint Anselm had jumped out to a 2-0 lead midway through the first period.
Holy Cross -- which posted a 41-10 advantage in shots on goal on the day -- struck for the only goal of the first period just after the midway point of the frame. Violette took the puck near the top of the right circle while moving left towards the slot. She used the screen of a defenseman to hide her shot from between the hash marks and cleanly beat Franklin Pierce senior goaltender Shannon O'Neil (Tewksbury, Mass.) for her team-leading 18th goal of the season. Senior defenseman Erin Hall and senior forward Elizabeth Scala provided the assists at the 10:50 mark.
After nearly the next 40 minutes went without another goal, Holy Cross cashed in a pair of insurance markers in quick succession just after the midpoint of the third. First, at 10:34, Bagi struck for her fourth goal of the campaign with an unassisted tally. She took possession and took a long shot from the left point, which found its way through traffic, rang off the post behind O'Neil and wound up in the net. Just 74 seconds later, at 11:48, Ashmun capped the scoring with her third goal of the year, off of assists from sophomore forward Danielle Doherty and senior forward Meghan O'Donnell. For O'Donnell, the helper marked the first point of her senior campaign.
O'Neil (15-6-1) piled up 38 saves, but still suffered the loss between the pipes for the Ravens. In the other crease, junior netminder Tessie Salatas needed to make just 10 saves to shutout Franklin Pierce for the third time this 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).