WINCHENDON, Mass. (February 21, 2018) – First period: no scoring.
Second period: no scoring.
Through two periods at the Jason Ritchie Ice Arena on Wednesday night, the scoring summary was not exactly full of the stuff they make movies about. Then, suddenly, the first round of the New England Women's Hockey Alliance Open Tournament got exciting.
In the left-wing side of the offensive end, Franklin Pierce freshman forward Emily Kramer (Rockville, Md.) poked the puck free to sophomore defenseman Delaney Guimont (Bedford, N.H.) at the blue line. The latter took her shot from the point, and there was so much traffic Saint Michael's junior goaltender Nicole Talcott never had a chance.
Only the netminder herself could tell you if she saw the incoming puck, but she could hardly be blamed if she did not, through multitude of bodies in the shooting lane. With Talcott's view impeded, the shot slipped untouched inside the right post, and suddenly, the scoring summary had its first entry:
FPU - Guimont (2) (Kramer) - 6:09
Guimont's second goal of the season came at an opportune time for the Ravens, but the third period was just heating up. Franklin Pierce -- which has averaged north of 30 shots per game this season -- held just a 15-9 shots advantage through two periods, and would get all it bargained for in the final stanza as well.
Saint Michael's successfully killed a penalty shortly after surrendering the opening goal, but then both teams struggled to find offense again for another stretch of time. But, with time beginning to wind down, the Purple Knights refused to go quietly into the offseason. Despite being knocked down in the right-wing corner, freshman forward Krista Ferrari won a battle for possession and pushed the puck along to freshman forward Emily Lanci. Lanci turned and sent a pass out front for sophomore defenseman Alissa Sullivan, who pinched in and put a shot on goal from between the hash marks. Franklin Pierce senior goaltender Madison Murray (Berkley, Mich.) made the save on Sullivan, but by then, Lanci had circled behind the net. Lanci then emerged out front and was the first one to find the rebound, which she salted away for her third goal of the campaign, with just 3:00 showing on the third-period clock.
The tie disappeared as quickly as it had come.
Just over a minute later, freshman forward Kelsey Ryan (Burlington, Mass.) gained possession for the Ravens along the left-wing boards. She quickly threw the puck out front and it was tipped in the left circle by freshman forward Kara Santoro (Wolcott, Conn.). The tip went straight to senior forward Alex Brolsma (Bloomington, Minn.) at the bottom of the left circle, and she deflected it again, this time past Talcott and into the net for her 16th goal of the year, at 18:07, just 67 seconds after the game had been tied.
Saint Michael's called its timeout immediately after the goal, but then freshman defenseman Courtney Kelly took a checking penalty just 35 seconds later, which all but eliminated any comeback opportunities. The fifth-seeded Purple Knights were never able to get Talcott to the bench for the extra attacker, Brolsma's goal stood as the game-winner, and the fourth-seeded Ravens escaped with a 2-1 win on home ice.
With the win, Franklin Pierce (15-11-2) advances to the weekend portion of the NEWHA Open Tournament, to be hosted by Saint Anselm. The Ravens will face the host Hawks in the second semifinal on Saturday, Feb. 24. Opening faceoff is set for 4 p.m. at Sullivan Arena in Manchester. Saint Michael's sees its season draw to a close at 5-22-0.
Brolsma's goal was the 121st point of her career (47-73-121), which tied her with Karsyn Baker '16 for the program's all-time scoring lead. The Ravens are guaranteed two more games this weekend, with Brolsma needing just one point to claim the record for her own.
Murray (10-5-1) finished with 16 saves against 17 shots on goal to pick up the win in net for Franklin Pierce. Talcott (5-20-0) stopped 23 of 25 shots and suffered the hard-luck loss in net 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).