Game-winning goal (Twitter video)
MANCHESTER, N.H. (February 25, 2018) – It was always going to take a dirty goal. The Franklin Pierce University women's ice hockey team looked to be running on fumes at times in the second half of the game, it had multiple players battling against injuries, and it had been outshot 48-16 through four periods of play. It was clear it would take a stroke of luck, and a gritty goal, for the Ravens to take down Holy Cross, as the third-place game of the New England Women's Hockey Alliance Open Tournament went to overtime and, ultimately, a second overtime on Sunday afternoon at Sullivan Arena.
Find a dirty goal the Ravens did though, just 2:44 into the second overtime, using the strength of legs which had just been rested in the game's fourth intermission. Senior forward Alex Brolsma (Bloomington, Minn.) corralled a puck in the left-wing circle and threw a backhand shot on net from there. Holy Cross senior goaltender Tessie Salatas made the save, but left the rebound out front, at the top of the crease. Freshman forward Haley Parker (Londonderry, N.H.) was the first one there, fought off a defender and slipped the rebound inside the left post to touch off a wild celebration along the left-wing boards as the Ravens came away 4-3 winners.
It was a milestone-filled afternoon for the Ravens. With the double-overtime assist, Brolsma finished her career with 123 points (49-74-123) to establish a new program record. She entered the day tied with Karsyn Baker '16 at the top of the list, but broke the tie in short order, with a first-period goal. Meanwhile, senior goaltender Madison Murray (Berkley, Mich.) finished her collegiate career in fine style, as she piled up 49 saves to set a new school single-game record in that department. Murray made 16 saves across the two overtime periods.
On the bench, the victory marked the 100th career collegiate victory for David Stockdale, who finishes his sixth year at Franklin Pierce with a 96-51-8 record (.645 winning percentage). Stockdale picked up four wins at Castleton previous to his time with the Ravens.
With the win, Franklin Pierce wrapped up its season at 16-12-2 and claimed third place in the Open Tournament for the second time (2016). The team was also the runner-up in 2015. With the loss, Holy Cross concluded its year at 16-9-3 and finished fourth, after a runner-up finish a year ago.
The scoring opened close to the midway point of the first period, when both teams got on the board in quick succession. First, from the right-wing corner, freshman forward Nicole Amato (Billerica, Mass.) slipped a centering pass into the slot for Brolsma. Brolsma was stationed below the hash marks and out in front of the left post, and did not miss from there. She fired a one-timer low and inside the left post for her 17th goal of the season, and the school scoring record, at the 8:24 mark.
Holy Cross answered just 26 seconds later, on a very similar play. From the right-wing side of the net behind the goal line, senior forward Kara Violette got a pass out front to junior forward Julie Matthias. Matthias put a one-time shot past Murray at 8:50 to make it 1-1. Junior forward Maeve Reilly tacked on an assist on the play as well.
The two sides would trade quick goals again before close of the first period, though this time it was Holy Cross which would strike first. A rolling puck came to the left point for sophomore defenseman Hannah Gillis, who stepped into it and sent a knuckling shot toward the net. The dancing puck clearly fooled Murray, who still got a piece of it, but it deflected over her shoulder and wound up in the net for Gillis' first goal of the season. Violette and Matthias provided the assists at 15:49.
Again it was less than a minute until the other team answered, as Franklin Pierce leveled things at 2-2 at the 16:42 mark. On a broken play, sophomore forward Alli Sugar (Canton, Conn.) was the first to find the loose puck out front, and shuffled it between the pads of Holy Cross senior goaltender Tessie Salatas for her fourth goal of the campaign. Parker picked up the lone assist, as she had originally poked the puck out front from the left-wing corner.
The second period went scoreless, but was not without entertainment. Franklin Pierce successfully killed off three penalties in the period, including a lengthy, 86-second 5-on-3 situation. During the two-man advantage, which did not feature a stoppage at any point, freshman forward Kelsey Ryan (Burlington, Mass.) had a key shot block, Murray made one save, and Holy Cross hit one pipe, off the stick of freshman defenseman Antonia Matzka from the left circle. Once things moved back to 5-on-4 play, Murray came up with two more saves, and was finally able to dive on the puck after the second penalty expired to get a whistle and allow the Ravens a much-needed line change.
For its part, Holy Cross had to kill a pair of penalties in the middle frame as well, including one minor during which the Crusaders generated a pair of shorthanded shots while holding Franklin Pierce without a shot. In all, Holy Cross posted an 11-3 shots advantage in the second stanza, with two of the Ravens' three shots coming on their first of the two power-play opportunities.
After the scoreless second, the Ravens broke the tie 4:51 into the third period. After receiving the puck from Amato in the bottom of the left-wing circle, freshman forward Emily Kramer (Rockville, Md.) put a quick shot on net from there. Her initial attempt was saved by Salatas, but a persistent Kramer banged the rebound home for her third goal of the season.
From there, it was a matter of trying to hold on for the Ravens. From the time of the Kramer goal, until there were two minutes remaining in the period -- a span of 13:09 -- Murray came up with 11 saves. The Franklin Pierce defense -- which blocked 22 shots on the afternoon -- added five blocked shots over the same time span, as Holy Cross was on its way to a 14-4 shots advantage in the period.
Holy Cross called its timeout to talk strategy and pulled Salatas in favor of the extra attacker with 1:53 to play in regulation, with a faceoff set to come in the left-wing circle of the offensive end. The move paid off, and the Franklin Pierce levee finally broke, just five seconds after the draw. The Crusaders won the faceoff and worked the puck quickly around the perimeter to Matzka, who teed up a blast from the right point. The shot did not get all the way through, but the rebound fell to the stick of Violette in the right-wing circle. She roofed a backhand shot into the top-right corner from there for her team-leading 16th goal of the season to knot things up. Matzka and Reilly added the assists at 18:12, and the game headed for overtime.
Neither team would find a goal in the first overtime, though Holy Cross posted a 12-4 advantage in shots in the fourth frame. The Crusaders were forced to kill off three penalties in the period, including 17 seconds worth of 5-on-3, but did so successfully. The best chance of the period on either side came near the midpoint of the stanza. Sophomore defenseman Victoria Young pushed up the right wing and jumped in on a 2-on-1 rush into the offensive end. She took the feed from the left side and put a shot on net, but was foiled by a sprawling Murray, who went post-to-post for the highlight-reel save. The save, along with the 11 others Murray made in the period set the stage for Parker's heroics to come early in the second overtime.
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).