SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. - On the strength of a four-goal second period, the Saint Michael's College women's ice hockey team knocked the University of New England from the ranks of the unbeaten with a 4-0 victory on Friday evening in Cairns Arena. The Purple Knights netted their four goals in a matter of 12:14 after the Nor'easters - one of only two undefeated teams remaining in NCAA women's ice hockey - had yielded only four tallies in their first eight contests this year. The teams square off again tomorrow at 1 p.m.
- Saint Michael's (3-10-1), University of New England (7-1-1)
SAINT MICHAEL'S LEADERS
- First-year Ella Saracco (Melrose, Mass./Middlesex Islanders), 2 goals (1st career)
- Junior Maddie Gervais (Glastonbury, Conn./East Catholic), 1 goal, 1 assist
- Senior Jordan Monbouquette (Wayland, Mass./Lawrence Academy), 2 assists
- First-year Maeghan Kennard (Hamlin, N.Y./Niagara Jr. Purple Eagles), 1 goal, 10-for-22 faceoffs
- Senior Vika Simons (Essex Junction, Vt./Minnesota Duluth Club), 47 saves
- Junior Riley Nichols (Gilford, N.H./Tilton School), 4 blocks
- Sophomore Jenna Harrison (Kitchener, Ontario/Wellesley), 7-for-11 faceoffs
- Junior Julia Benjamin, 17 saves
- Junior Jessie Scott, 12-for-23 faceoffs
- Saint Michael's returned to action for the first time since Dec. 7.
- This was the Purple Knights' third straight game against an unbeaten foe after taking on Colby College on Dec. 6-7. Colby and the University of New England were the only remaining undefeated teams in NCAA women's ice hockey. The Nor'easters' eight-game unbeaten streak was tied for fourth nationally.
- Simons tied a school record with her third career shutout - matching Melanie Cullen '09 and Abby Burke '17 - while increasing her save total to 996; only eight Purple Knights have 1,000 stops for a career.
- Saint Michael's downed the University of New England for the first time since Nov. 15, 2014, and on the Cairns Arena ice for the first time.
- Upon Gervais scoring at 7:13 of the second period, the Purple Knights halted the Nor'easters' shutout streak at 292:51, having last allowed a tally - a power-play goal - on Nov. 22. The University of New England had not yielded an even-strength goal since the second period on Nov. 16, six games ago.
- The Purple Knights were outshot 47-21 but utilized three special-teams goals, including two power-play markers 28 seconds apart in the second period while scoring their four goals in a 12:14 span. The Nor'easters had allowed only two power-play goals all season entering the night, and just four tallies overall in eight full games. The visitors had trailed for a grand total of 6:40 all year, back in the opening period on Nov. 15.
- The University of New England was first in Division III in winning percentage and combined special teams (63.4%) and second in scoring defense (0.50 GAA), but went 0-for-8 on power plays while allowing Saint Michael's to go 2-for-3.
- Simons made three saves in a matter of 20 seconds near the midway portion of the opening period, including a standout denial of sophomore Kenady Nevicosi at 7:19, as Nevicosi skated across the slot to draw Simons out of her crease. However, Simons stayed low and sprawled out for a glove save on an open net. Simons made a stick stop of sophomore Meghan Hamilton from the slot at 7:31 before Nevicosi's backhanded point-blank try was gloved eight seconds later.
- Saracco keyed Saint Michael's killing a penalty early in the second period, and her team took the lead for good soon thereafter. Harrison broke up the left wing with seven minutes gone before sending a centering pass from the circle for Gervais, who one-timed a shot into the upper right corner of the net at 7:13.
- Junior Krista Ferrari (Dunstable, Mass./East Coast Wizards) juked her defender in the slot around 11:50 to get in on Benjamin, but her close-range shot was denied, and classmate Lizzie Blanchard's (New Bedford, Mass./New Bedford) follow-up shot through traffic was blockered away.
- In a 1-0 game, Simons made a blocker stop of sophomore Jenna Pych's slap shot from the low left circle at 13:15, and Saint Michael's doubled its lead during an ensuing Nor'easter power play. After senior Arianna Boscia (Cranston, R.I./La Salle Academy) chipped a clearing pass into the left corner, Saracco caught up with the puck and skated back through the left circle toward three Nor'easters before changing direction and going toward net, where she avoided a Benjamin poke check and slid her first career goal - a shorthanded tally - inside the right post at 13:57.
- The Purple Knights potted a pair of 5-on-3 goals in the final 1:01 of the period, both on rebounds. With a little more than a minute to go, first-year Callie Wiley (Andover, Mass./Andover) snapped a shot from the slot that Benjamin pushed to her right, where Saracco sent home the rebound at 18:59. Just 28 seconds later, Monbouquette was denied out front, and Kennard put in a second effort with 32.5 ticks remaining.
- Simons preserved the shutout with an 18-save third period, including stopping senior Tatum Gietl from the slot with a glove save at 1:21. Sophomore Bella Crugnale rung the crossbar from the right circle during a power play with 10:50 gone, and Scott's redirection out front during the same woman advantage was denied by Simons at 11:45. The netminder's final save came with her paddle on junior Kyra Yu's try from the right circle with 15 seconds to go.
NEXT SAINT MICHAEL'S GAME
- Tomorrow vs. University of New England, 1 p.m.
- The Purple Knights will host their inaugural SLAMT1D Diabetes Awareness Game.