PREVIEW: Women’s Ice Hockey to Meet Sacred Heart in NEWHA Tournament Semifinal

PREVIEW: Women’s Ice Hockey to Meet Sacred Heart in NEWHA Tournament Semifinal

RINDGE, N.H. (February 22, 2019) – Hunting the second 20-win season in program history, the Franklin Pierce University women's ice hockey team will open postseason play on Saturday night. The third-seeded Ravens will meet second-seeded Sacred Heart in the semifinal round of the New England Women's Hockey Alliance Tournament, which is being hosted by Saint Anselm, at Sullivan Arena in Manchester, N.H. Opening faceoff for the day's second semifinal is set for 7 p.m.

Saturday night's winner will advance to the league title game, set for 4 p.m. on Sunday. 

NEWHA Tournament
(Seeds in parentheses) 

Saturday, Feb. 23 -- Semifinals
Game 1: (4) Saint Michael's at (1) Saint Anselm – 4 p.m.
Game 2: (2) Sacred Heart vs. (3) Franklin Pierce – 7 p.m. 

Sunday, Feb. 24 -- Final
Game 3: Game 1 Winner vs. Game 2 Winner – 4 p.m.

Scouting the Ravens

Franklin Pierce (19-9-1) has had an up-and-down season in NEWHA play, which ultimately culminated in a .500 finish (7-7-1) and a third-place finish, squarely in the middle of the pack. Over the course of 15 league games, which included three against each other NEWHA institution, the Ravens never won more than two games in a row, and never lost more than two in a row either. Franklin Pierce put together a non-league record of 12-2-0 on the year.

The Ravens feature a pair of All-NEWHA First Team selections in the league's leading scorer, sophomore forward Haley Parker (Londonderry, N.H.), as well as the league's leading defensive scorer, junior Bridgette Prentiss (Buffalo, N.Y.). The former heads into the postseason with 17-23-40 on the season, while the latter has tallied 11-10-21. Parker's 40 points and 23 assists are both Franklin Pierce single-season records. The Ravens also boast a pair of All-NEWHA Second Team picks in sophomore forwards Nicole Amato (Billerica, Mass.), who has notched 21-14-35, and Marissa Massaro (Brockton, Mass.), who has gone for 13-21-34.

Between the pipes is NEWHA All-Rookie Team selection Emme Ostrander (Westborough, Mass.), who has logged nearly two-thirds of the team's minutes in net. She is the NEWHA leader in both goals-against average (1.36) and save percentage (.939). Franklin Pierce ranks third in the league in scoring offense (3.55 goals per game) and second in scoring defense (1.79 goals per game).

Scouting the Pioneers

Sacred Heart (20-7-4) has already hit the 20-win mark, and has done so for the second year in a row, marking the first two 20-win seasons in program history. The Pioneers skated to a 9-4-3 record in NEWHA play, which left them second behind regular-season champion Saint Anselm. Sacred Heart ran off a 10-game unbeaten streak (8-0-2) from Nov. 24 through Jan. 12, but enters the postseason having split its last four games.

Sacred Heart features three All-NEWHA First Team selections of its own, including the league's Goalie of the Year and Defender of the Year, in senior Sarah Erban and junior Olivia Bryant, respectively. Erban has put together a 1.74 goals-against average and a .917 save percentage, while Bryant is +15 with 11 points on three goals and eight assists. The duo was joined on the First Team by the team's leading scorer, junior forward Jayne Lewis, who has tallied 18-18-36 through 30 games. Freshman defenseman Kelly Solak (2-12-14) and senior forward Haley Payne (16-9-25) landed on the Second Team.

Erban has logged more than three-quarters of Sacred Heart's minutes in net this year, and is the only NEWHA netminder to spend more time in the crease than Ostrander. Erban is currently third in the NEWHA in goals-against average and fourth in save percentage. Sacred Heart is second in the league in scoring offense (3.81 goals per game) and third in scoring defense (1.87 goals per game).

Earlier This Season

The two teams met at Sacred Heart on Nov. 16-17, with the Pioneers pulling out a 2-1, overtime win on Friday and Franklin Pierce answering with a 2-0 win on Saturday. They also met at Franklin Pierce on Feb. 1-2, when they played to a scoreless tie on Friday, followed by a 5-3 Sacred Heart win on Saturday. Amato has three goals in four games against Pioneers for Franklin Pierce, while Lewis and freshman Anna Kelin have each gone for 2-1-3 for Sacred Heart in the season series. Ostrander played all four games in net for Franklin Pierce, while Erban played in the two Sacred Heart wins, as well as the scoreless tie, for the Pioneers.

Previously in the Postseason

The Ravens and Pioneers have met only once before in the postseason, in the third-place game of the New England Hockey Conference Open Tournament, on Feb. 26, 2017. Playing at Sacred Heart's home rink, the two teams played a wild, back-and-forth affair, and ultimately skated to a 4-4 tie. Franklin Pierce erased leads of 1-0, 2-1, 3-2 and 4-3, tying the game with 29 seconds to play on an extra-attacker goal from then-freshman Meg Gilbride (Braintree, Mass.). It was her second goal of the game, while Katie Stueve went for 1-2-3 for Sacred Heart. The Pioneers prevailed in a six-round shootout, 2-1, to claim third place.

Headed to the Game?

If you plan on making the trip to Manchester on Saturday night, directions to Saint Anselm and maps of the Queen City campus can be found here: https://www.anselm.edu/admission-aid/visit/directions

Ticket prices are set as follows: 

Adults - $5
Children (12 and under) - Free

Per NEWHA policy, no complimentary admissions will be issued.

How to Follow Along

If you prefer to follow the action from home, from work or from elsewhere, both live video and live stats will be available.

Live stats: https://www.fpuravens.com/sports/wice/2018-19/boxscores/20190223_8ezt.xml
Video: https://portal.stretchinternet.com/saintanselm/

Up Next

The winner of Saturday's game will advance to play in Sunday's NEWHA Tournament title game, set for 4 p.m. at Sullivan Rink. The advancing team will meet the winner of Saturday's first semifinal, which is set for 4 p.m. and features top seed and host Saint Anselm taking on fourth-seeded Saint Michael's.

Though the tournament has traditionally included a third-place game as well, there will not be one in 2019. It was canceled late last week, due to a scheduling conflict at Sullivan Arena. 

For more information on Franklin Pierce Athletics, please visit the official website of Franklin Pierce Athletics (https://www.fpuravens.com). 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 hockey apparel can do so at the Department of Athletics' online store (https://www.fpuravens.com/store).