Ponte backstops Panthers to ECAC East victory
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Senior goalie Ali Ponte (Richmond Hill, Ont.) made 37 saves Friday evening to lead Plymouth State University to a 4-3 victory over the University of Massachusetts Boston in Eastern College Athletic Conference Women's East ice hockey action at Hanaway Rink.
The visiting Beacons finished with a 40-16 advantage in shots on goal but Ponte held her ground. She reached double digits in saves in all three periods, including 16 stops in the third period when UMB was making a comeback attempt.
PSU took a 3-0 lead with three unanswered goals in the second period, but UMB pulled to within a goal early in the third frame. Sophomore Kelsey Lynch (Collegeville, Pa.) potted an insurance goal for PSU midway through the third, and senior Katie Loiselle (Glocester, R.I.) answered for the Beacons with nine minutes remaining, but Ponte hung tough in the Panther goal as PSU secured the win.
The victory lifts the Panthers to 5-17-2 overall and 3-10-2 in conference play, while UMB drops to 10-10-4 overall and 6-8-1 in the ECAC East. PSU clinched a spot in the upcoming conference tournament.
After a scoreless first period, sophomore Olivia Leon (Natick, Mass.) put the Panthers on the board in the first minute of the second with a power play goal. Leon deflected a shot from the point by senior Stephanie Newmark (Sydney, Australia) out of mid-air and the puck found its way into the net for Leon's fourth goal of the year.
The Panthers extended the margin to 3-0 with a pair of breakaway goals less than two minutes apart midway through the frame. Senior Meghan Cassidy (Somerville, N.J.) sent classmate Jane Baruch (Coventry, R.I.) in on a breakaway with a nifty lead pass, and Baruch finished off her first goal of the year with a pretty shot up under the crossbar at 10:14. Senior Jamie O'Brien (Chelmsford, Mass.) also scored her first of the season moments later on a breakaway down the left side, getting her shot off while being tripped from behind.
UMB got on the board with 3:32 to go in the period on a Beacon power play. Loiselle found junior Kelsey MacIsaac (Durham, N.H.) in the slot, and MacIsaac ripped home her first of the season to make it a 3-1 game after two periods.
Junior Alyssa Sullivan (Medford, Mass.) put a backhander past Ponte after a scramble in front of the Panther goal three minutes into the third period to pull the Beacons to within a goal, but Lynch restored the two-goal advantage for PSU with a back-door goal on a nice crossing pass from junior Kelsey Cosby (Walpole, Mass.)
Loiselle notched her sixth of the season on a Beacon power play at the 11:17 mark, pounding home a pass from behind the net by sophomore Jenny Currie (Chelmsford, Mass.) but that ended up as the extent of the scoring.
Both teams will wrap up the regular season on Saturday with ECAC East Conference games as PSU hosts Saint Anselm College on Senior Day at Hanaway Rink (2:00 p.m.) and UMB visits the University of Southern Maine (1:00 p.m.)
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