Ponte backstops Panthers to conference victory
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Sophomore Kate Banys (Newburyport, Mass.) scored two goals Saturday afternoon as the Plymouth State University women's ice hockey team defeated the University of Southern Maine, 3-1, at Hanaway Rink to earn a split of their Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Women's East weekend doubleheader.
Banys scored once in each of the first two periods as PSU pulled out to a 3-0 lead. The Huskies got on the board midway through the third period but junior goalie Ali Ponte (Richmond Hill, Ont.) made 37 saves to preserve the Panther victory. PSU improves to 3-10 overall and 2-6 in the ECAC Women's East while USM drops to 4-5-4 overall and 3-3-2 in conference play.
PSU bounced back with the win Saturday after USM had earned the Friday night victory, 3-2, with a pair of third period goals, including a short-handed game-winner with 1:36 remaining.
Banys opened the scoring for PSU at the 12:45 mark of the opening period, shooting a wrist shot from the left face-off circle that beat a screened goalie, with assists to freshman Olivia Leon (Natick, Mass.) and junior Jane Baruch (Coventry, R.I.). Sophomore Cortney Sollows (West Barnstable, Mass.) made it a 2-0 Panther lead with two minutes to go in the period when she blasted a slap shot from the right point that just snuck under the cross bar, with junior Allison Collins (Murrieta, Calif.) assisting.
PSU extended the lead to 3-0 two minutes into the middle frame when Banys collected a rebound off a shot by junior Carrie Baruch (Coventry, R.I.) and lifted a backhander over the goalie's shoulder into the top left corner of the net for her second of the game and fourth of the season. That ended up as the only goal of the second period despite four USM power play attempts and two PSU tries with an extra skater.
Southern Maine broke through at the 9:52 mark of the third period when junior Erin Banfield (Montpelier, Vt.) poked in her fourth goal of the season on a scramble in front of the goal. But Ponte held the fort the rest of the way and PSU held on for the win.
The visitors finished with a 38-14 advantage in shots on goal, including a 12-1 margin in the third period. USM sophomore goalie Liz Bergstrom (Chanhassen, Minn.) stopped all four shots she faced the final 37 minutes after coming on in relief of freshman Jenn Fuller (Houston, B.C.)
Both teams are back on the ice Tuesday with non-conference games as PSU travels to Connecticut College while USM hosts Bowdoin College.
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