MANCHESTER, N.H. (February 24, 2018) – A four-goal first period buried the Franklin Pierce University women's ice hockey team early on Saturday afternoon, and the Ravens were never able to recover. Saint Anselm added two goals in the second and one more in the third on the way to a 7-1 win in the semifinal round of the NEWHA Open Tournament at Sullivan Rink. Sophomore defenseman Haley Marshall led the way for Saint Anselm with two goals and two assists on the day.
With the loss, fourth-seeded Franklin Pierce falls to 15-12-2, while top seed and host Saint Anselm improves to 20-3-4. The Ravens will round out their season on Sunday, when they take on Holy Cross in the NEWHA Open Tournament third-place game. Puck drop is set for noon at Sullivan Arena. Second-seeded Holy Cross fell in Saturday's first semifinal, 3-1, to third-seeded Sacred Heart. Later on Sunday, Saint Anselm and Sacred Heart will square off for the championship at 3 p.m.
Saint Anselm needed just 60 seconds to open the scoring. Senior forward Ashley Moran beat a pinching defenseman in the neutral zone and tipped the puck ahead to freshman forward Katy Meehan, who rushed into the offensive end with space on the left-wing side. From the top of the left circle, she sniped the top-left corner of the net, over the blocker shoulder of Franklin Pierce senior goaltender Madison Murray (Berkley, Mich.) for her team-leading 16th goal of the season.
The Ravens picked things up before the midpoint of the period. Freshman forward Nicole Amato (Billerica, Mass.) earned a partial breakaway against a Saint Anselm line change and powered to the net, but could not get the backhand attempt to go. Moments later, just shy of the seven-minute mark, freshman forward Haley Parker (Londonderry, N.H.) chipped the puck off the boards for herself and led a 2-on-1 up the left-wing side. She took the shot herself, from the left circle, but was stymied by Saint Anselm sophomore goaltender Michaela Kane.
The Ravens got a power-play opportunity after the midway mark of the period, but it would result in a goal the other way instead. With sophomore defenseman Bridgette Prentiss (Buffalo, N.Y.) at the center of the blue line and freshman forward Kelsey Ryan (Burlington, Mass.) in the right-wing circle, the two played catch with the puck between the two locations. Eventually, Ryan's return pass to Prentiss was tipped by the stick of Saint Anselm freshman forward Madison Sprague, who deflected it out into the neutral zone. Sprague then used her speed to narrowly beat Prentiss to the puck near center ice and converted on the ensuing shorthanded breakaway for her fifth goal of the campaign, unassisted at 12:19.
Just 41 seconds later, the Hawks made it 3-0. Senior forward Kaitlyn Spillane -- an All-NEWHA First Team pick -- made a power move around the defenseman marking her in the right-wing circle. With a step on the defense, she snapped a shot past Murray from the bottom of the right circle at the 13-minute mark for her 12th goal of the year. Sophomore forwards Jamie Gottwald and Kaley Campbell tacked on the assists.
Saint Anselm got a late power play and continued to pour it on, after freshman forward Marissa Massaro (Brockton, Mass.) was whistled for tripping at 16:37. From the left-wing circle, Moran sent a pass to the middle of the blue line for Marshall. Marshall stepped into a big slap shot from there, and wired it into the top-right corner, over the glove hand of Murray, for her eighth goal of the season. Senior defenseman Samantha Boyer tacked on an assist as well, at 17:31.
Saint Anselm outshot Franklin Pierce 16-7 on the way to a 4-0 first-intermission lead. Murray was lifted at the start of the second period and relieved by freshman goaltender Kelly Turney (Fort Gratiot, Mich.).
Franklin Pierce got things buzzing on a power play early in the second, after Saint Anselm sophomore defenseman Megan Klaus was whistled for hooking at 1:16. The Ravens generated seven shots on goal on the ensuing man advantage, but could not solve Kane. Perhaps the best chance of the power play came in the aftermath of a shot by sophomore defenseman Katie Neuburger (Fayetteville, N.Y.) from the left point. The rebound fell into the slot, to Amato on the backhand, with Kane out of position. However, the Saint Anselm defense did a thorough job of tying up Amato before she could finish things off.
Saint Anselm pushed the lead out to 5-0 after the midpoint of the game. Marshall found a little space to work with in the top of the right-wing circle and used it to find a shooting lane. She snapped her second goal of the game over the glove hand of Turney and into the top-right corner of the goal. Moran provided the lone assist at the 12-minute mark.
A bit of a hard-luck goal made it 6-0 before the second intermission. On the power play, the Hawks worked the puck to Boyer at the right point. The senior stepped into a shot from there, which pinballed off of Mueller, as well as a defenseman, on the way towards the net and wound up behind Turney for Mueller's third goal of the season. Boyer and Marshall picked up the assists, at 18:48.
The two teams would then trade goals in the third period, as Saint Anselm went on to finish off the 7-1 victory.
Early in the final frame, Marshall worked to get the puck to Moran at the left point. Moran quickly sent the puck down the left-wing side, to the bottom of the left circle. Mueller was there and deflected the pass home for her second goal of the game, at 3:32.
Franklin Pierce finally got on the board on a 5-on-3 advantage at 11:19. The puck wound up in the left circle for sophomore defenseman Delaney Guimont (Bedford, N.H.) in the left circle, and she put it towards the net from there. Freshman forward Marissa Massaro (Brockton, Mass.) was on the scene at the top of the crease to redirect the puck home for her 16th goal of the year. Ryan picked up an assist on the play as well.
Murray (10-6-1) made 12 saves against 16 shots before exiting at the end of the first period. Turney went the rest of the way in net for the Ravens and finished with 12 saves against 15 shots, as Franklin Pierce surrendered 16 shots in the first period and then only allowed 15 over the remainder of the game.
At the other end of the ice, Kane (8-1-1) posted a 27-save effort, against 28 shots, in the crease for Saint Anselm.
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).