Lindqvist makes 50 saves as Panthers' season comes to an end
NORTHFIELD, Vt. – Junior Emelie Lindqvist (Gulleråsen, Sweden) made 50 saves but the fourth-seeded Plymouth State University women's ice hockey team fell to top-seeded Norwich University, 4-1, in the semifinal round of the New England Hockey Conference women's division tournament Saturday afternoon at Kreitzberg Arena.
The Cadets (23-1-3), ranked #1/#2 in the country, advance to the championship game next Saturday (Mar. 3) where they will face #2 University of Massachusetts Boston. The Beacons topped #3 Castleton University, 2-1, in the other semifinal. The Panthers end the 2017-18 campaign with a 9-14-4 overall record.
Plymouth State, which has played Norwich tougher than anyone in the league, fell behind 1-0 in the opening six minutes before rallying to tie the game late in the first period. The Cadets took advantage of three PSU penalties in the final 40 minutes, scoring a pair of power play goals before tacking on a late insurance strike to earn the win.
The nation's highest scoring team got on the board 5:51 into the game. With the puck held up in the left corner of the Panthers' offensive zone a Norwich skater chipped it out to sophomore Alyssa Hulst (Scarborough, Maine), who flipped it ahead to junior Adrieana Rossini (Malden, Mass.). Rossini skated through the neutral zone and along the right side before cutting back to the middle at the bottom of the right faceoff circle. She fired a wrist shot in the slot to the top left corner over the shoulder of Lindqvist to put Norwich ahead 1-0.
The Panthers evened the game late with 1:26 remaining in the period. Sophomore Kailey Jacobs (Westwood, Mass.) gathered the puck along the right half boards before skating in on goal. Her initial shot was blocked by a Cadet defender but the puck went right back to her and she carried it in to the top of the faceoff circle before beating senior goalie Laurie King (Waddington, N.Y.) top shelf for her fourth of the year. Despite being outshot 12-5 in the period, the Panthers went into the first intermission deadlocked at one.
Norwich turned on the offensive pressure in the second period, firing 25 shots on goal, but Lindqvist made save after save to keep the game tied. The Cadets broke through with a power play strike at the 8:39 mark. Senior Sarah Schwenzfeier (Hingham, Mass.) picked up a loose puck at the top of the right faceoff circle in the Panthers' defensive zone. She skated behind the net, then pushed a pass to the slot for Rossini. Lindqvist made an initial save with her right leg but the puck sat in the crease and Rossini was able to put in the rebound.
Plymouth had a great opportunity to retie the game at the midpoint of the period. Junior Taylor Jackson (St. Albans, Vt.) carried the puck over the blue line along the left side, with freshman Amber Thomas (Cornwall, Ont.) and sophomore Alexis Fagan (Wakefield, R.I.) creating a 3-on-2 breakaway, but Jackson's bid for the five-hole was stopped by King.
The Cadets added a second power play tally 10:43 into the third period. Sophomore Sophie McGovern (Hermantown, Minn.) carried the puck to the goal line on the left side before whipping a centering pass to junior Bryn Labbe (Calgary, Alberta), who was crashing the net and Labbe's one-timer slid under the pads of Lindqvist.
Norwich added some insurance six minutes later when sophomore Amanda Conway (Methuen, Mass.) got the puck after a PSU turnover in the defensive zone and her wrist shot from the left faceoff dot got past Lindqvist high to the far post.
Lindqvist finished with 50 saves for the third time this season, but suffered the loss to end the year with a 7-9-4 mark. King made 12 stops to improve to 18-1-3 on the year. The Cadets owned a 54-13 advantage in shots and finished two-of-four on the power play. PSU was 0-2 with the skater advantage.
Under the guidance of second-year head coach Mykul Haun, Plymouth enjoyed arguably its best season ever. Although the Panthers finished one win shy of matching the program record for wins in a year (10), the team ended the NEHC regular season in fourth place, the highest conference finish for the Panthers in program history. For its efforts, PSU earned its first ever home playoff game and captured the program's first playoff win, topping the University of New England in a thrilling overtime game, 3-2, last Saturday.
Lindqvist became the first Panther to earn All-NEHC honors after being named to the Second Team. Her .939 save percentage was tied for 14th-best in the country, while her 2.14 goals against average was the 32nd-best mark in the nation. Both are the best in program history.
Jacobs topped the team with 16 points (4 goals, 12 assists). Her 16 points and 12 assists were both the second highest total in a season. Sophomore Sydney Linnick (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) and junior Brooke Maggy (Los Angeles, Calif.) finished tied for the team lead with six goals apiece, the seventh highest season total all-time. Fagan ended the year with five goals to bring her career total to 14, landing her fifth on the all-time goal-scoring list.
The loss marked the final contest in the careers of seniors Shannon Hickey (Arlington, Mass.), Courtney Evans (Fairbanks, Alaska), Alivia Bates (Pennsauken, N.J.), Jaime Carpenter (Jardenville, N.B.), Mariah Trupp (Topeka, Kansas) and Taylor Shrode (Craig, Colo.).
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