Panthers enter post-season as seventh seed in ECAC East
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Freshman Alison Butler (Danvers, Mass.) scored the game-winning goal with 3:17 remaining in regulation play Saturday afternoon as Saint Anselm College rallied for a 4-3 victory over Plymouth State University in an Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Women's East ice hockey contest at Hanaway Rink.
Butler's goal capped a three-goal third-period comeback for the Hawks, who out-shot the home team 35-14. Sophomore Sarah Geisinger (Willoughby, Ohio), who led the team with a goal and two assists, and junior Tiffany Herron (Clinton Twp, Mich.) also scored third-period markers for the Hawks. Saint Anselm, 22-3-0 overall, finishes in second place in the ECAC East with a 14-2-0 mark.
Upset-minded PSU got goals from sophomore Kelsey Lynch (Collegeville, Pa.), junior Kelsey Cosby (Walpole, Mass.) and senior Meghan Cassidy (Somerville, N.J.) to open up a 3-1 lead after two periods, and senior goalie Ali Ponte (Richmond Hill, Ont.) made 31 saves in the PSU net.
PSU winds up the regular season with a 5-18-2 overall record and a 3-11-2 mark in the ECAC East. The Panthers earned the seventh seed in the conference tournament, which begins next Saturday. PSU made its first conference tournament appearance a year ago as the eighth seed.
Saint Anselm got on the board first as freshman Alexandra Starzyk (Enfield, Conn.) tallied her 12th goal of the season at the 11:44 mark of the opening frame, one-timing a diagonal pass in the slot from Geisinger that snuck through Ponte's legs. Lynch evened the score for PSU five minutes later with her fourth of the season, as she took a pass from Cosby in front of the goal and slid a backhander through the pads of the Hawks' goalie. The visitors had a 13-5 lead in shots on goal in the period but the score was tied 1-1.
The Panthers pulled ahead midway through the middle frame on a power play. Sollows skated into the slot and fired a low shot that just went inside the right post for her second of the season. Cassidy followed less than two minutes later with her fourth of the year, firing a shot through a screened goalie to put PSU up 3-1 with 6:45 left in the second period.
The Hawks started their comeback when Geisinger scored on a play set up by Starzyk a minute into the third period. Starzyk poked a puck loose at the Hawks' blue line, raced into the offensive zone to retrieve the puck, and then fed Geisinger in the slot, who beat Ponte inside the right post. Herron scored to tie the game on a rebound after Ponte made a save on a shot from the point by sophomore Halle Kent (Lake Placid, N.Y.) with 10 minutes remaining, and Butler scored the game-winner at 16:43 on a spinning shot in the slot that went past a screened goalie just inside the left post.
Junior Lindsey Brown (Mounds View, Minn.) earned the win in relief in the Saint Anselm goal, making five saves in relief of freshman Hannah Synnott (Montclair, N.J.), who made six saves on nine shots in the first 33 minutes.
The ECAC East post-season tournament pairings will be announced at the conclusion of Saturday's games.
Prior to the game, PSU honored its 11 seniors on Senior Day – Cassidy, Ponte, Jamie O'Brien (Chelmsford, Mass.), Carrie Baruch (Coventry, R.I.), Jane Baruch (Coventry, R.I.), Tasha Wyatt (Vail, Colo.), Kelsey Maguire (Swampscott, Mass.), Ali Myers (Seattle, Wash.), Allison Collins (Murietta, Calif.), Stephanie Newmark (Sydney, Australia) and Nicole Crandle (Bristol, Conn.).