Ponte makes 23 saves for Panthers
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Freshman goaltender Sydney Helmbrecht (Grand Rapids, Minn.) stopped all 29 shots she faced Friday evening to lead the University of New England to a 2-0 victory over Plymouth State University in non-conference women's ice hockey action at Hanaway Rink.
The Nor'easters got second-period goals from freshmen Shannon Smith (Naperville, Ill.) and Emily Corrales (West Hartford, Conn.) and a pair of assists from classmate Cassandra Connelly (Woburn, Mass.) and Helmbrecht did the rest, recording her first collegiate victory between the pipes. UNE, which defeated PSU 5-1 on Thursday, completed the series sweep to improve its season record to 5-4-3.
PSU out-shot the visitors for the second night in a row, but couldn't get one past Helmbrecht. Senior Ali Ponte (Richmond Hill, Ont.) made 23 saves in the Panther goal but suffered the tough-luck loss as PSU dropped to 2-7 overall.
The two teams played scoreless hockey for the first period, with UNE coming up empty on a pair of power play opportunities. The Nor'easters got on the scoreboard at 5:34 of the second frame when freshman Gabriella Moscato (Wakefield, Mass.) centered a pass to Smith, who snapped a wrist shot from the slot through a screen that got past Ponte for the only goal the Nor'easters would need.
Plymouth State had its best opportunities of the night two minutes later, but Helmbrecht stopped a pair of Panthers breakaways in a span of 30 seconds. She kicked out a shot by sophomore Olivia Leon (Natick, Mass.) and made a glove save on freshman Shannon Hickey (Arlington, Mass.)
UNE doubled its lead with 5:29 to play in the second period when Connelly found Corrales in the front of the Panther net, and Corrales finished the play with her sixth goal of the season.
The Nor'easters held off any Panther comeback attempts in the third period. PSU was forced to kill off four penalties in the final frame as UNE went scores in seven attempts with the extra skater.
Both teams are now idle for final exams and the holiday break. The Panthers return to action on Jan. 3-4, 2014, at the Saint Michael's Tournament in South Burlington, Vt., while the Nor'easters are back on the ice on Jan. 7 at Nichols College.
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