WINCHENDON, Mass. (February 3, 2018) – For the fourth time this year, the Franklin Pierce University women's ice hockey team locked horns with Sacred Heart. For the fourth time this year, Sacred Heart emerged with a one goal victory when all was said and done. Freshman forward Lexi Edwards batted a rebound out of midair early in the third period for what would stand as the game-winner in a 3-2 Sacred Heart victory in New England Women's Hockey Alliance play. Senior forward Alex Brolsma (Bloomington, Minn.) had a goal and an assist for Franklin Pierce in defeat on Saturday afternoon at Jason Ritchie Ice Arena.
With the loss, Franklin Pierce falls to 12-9-2 (6-9-1 NEWHA), while Sacred Heart improves to 22-5-1 (11-4-1 NEWHA). Sacred Heart -- which is enjoying the most successful season in recent program history -- posted a four-game season sweep over Franklin Pierce, with each of the four victories coming by just one goal.
Sacred Heart opened the scoring just 2:27 into the proceedings and would never trail on Saturday afternoon. Junior forward Katie Stueve put a one-time shot inside the left post from out in front of the crease for her eighth goal of the season. Sophomore forward Jayne Lewis provided the centering feed from below the goal line on the right-wing side, after taking a pass behind the net from senior forward Taylor Moreland.
Franklin Pierce evened things up at 8:23. On a rush into the offensive end, Brolsma worked the puck to freshman forward Haley Parker (Londonderry, N.H.) on the right-wing side. Parker's shot from the bottom of the right circle was saved by Sacred Heart junior goaltender Sarah Erban, but freshman forward Kelsey Ryan (Burlington, Mass.) was able to jam home the rebound at the left post for her seventh goal of the campaign.
Franklin Pierce would get in penalty trouble late in the frame, as they picked up a pair of boarding penalties at the same stoppage at 17:40, including a major to freshman defenseman Carolyn Drowne (Bridgewater, Mass.), who also received a game misconduct.
The Pioneers capitalized on the ensuing power play, just as the 5-on-3 portion of their advantage expired. Senior defenseman Carly Radovich had the initial shot on the play, from the middle of the left-wing circle, with Franklin Pierce senior goaltender Madison Murray (Berkley, Mich.) able to make the save. The rebound came out in front of the crease, where senior forward Meghan Kebalka touched it with her backhand, just to the right side for senior forward Brittany Smith, who quickly banged home her 12th goal of the year, at 19:40.
After a scoreless second period, Sacred Heart would make it a 3-1 game at the 1:58 mark of the third period. Sophomore forward Maddie Bishop led a 3-on-1 into the offensive zone, down the right-wing side. Her feed across the slot found freshman forward Lexi Edwards, who was crashing the net from the left-wing side, but Edwards' shot was saved by Murray. Sophomore forward Victoria Grimmer was the first to get her stick to the rebound, and the puck popped up in the air. Now out in front of the right post, Edwards used her stick to knock the puck out of midair and into the back of the net for her sixth goal of the season.
Franklin Pierce pulled back within a goal at 3-2 at the 9:13 mark. Freshman defenseman Hayley Doneghey (North Attleborough, Mass.) collected the puck in her own zone and sent a pass ahead to Brolsma in the neutral zone, on the right-wing side. Brolsma rushed ahead into the zone, swiftly maneuvered around the lone defenseman challenging her and popped a quick shot past Erban from the right circle for her 13th goal of the year. For Doneghey, the assist marked her first collegiate point.
Brolsma's two-point afternoon moved her to 115 career points (45-70-115). She is now just six points shy of matching Karsyn Baker '16 for the program record.
Franklin Pierce would get a late power-play chance, after one of Sacred Heart's senior captains, Moreland, was whistled for holding at 17:23. The Ravens would also get Murray to the bench for the extra attacker over the final 79 seconds, but were ultimately unable to find the tying goal, as Sacred Heart skated away with the 3-2 victory.
Murray (7-4-1) finished with 23 saves against 26 shots in a losing effort in the Franklin Pierce net. In the opposing crease, Erban (14-3-1) stopped 18 of 20 shots to pick up the win for Sacred Heart.
The Ravens return to the ice on Friday, Feb. 9, when they travel to Holy Cross for the front end of a home-and-home, NEWHA weekend series. Opening faceoff is set for 7:05 p.m. at the Hart Center in Worcester, Mass.
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).