Southern Maine Shuts Out Sacred Heart 4-0
GORHAM, Maine -- Senior Erin Banfield (Montpelier, Vt.) scored two goals to lead the University of Southern Maine Huskies to a 4-0 shutout over the visiting Sacred Heart University Pioneers Wednesday afternoon in non-conference women's ice hockey action at the USM Ice Arena.
The win snapped the Huskies' three-game winless stretch (0-2-1) and improved their overall record to 7-5-1. The win was the Huskies first against the Pioneers since January 4, 2011. The Huskies, who earned a 3-3 tie Tuesday in the first game of the teams' two-game series, had gone 0-3-3 in six games since their last win against the Pioneers.
The Pioneers, a Division One independent program, had their three-game unbeaten string (1-0-2) snapped and fall to 2-8-5 on the season.
Banfield scored what proved to be the winning goal midway through the first period converting a feed from sophomore Chelsea Boucher (Gilford, N.H.) into her eighth goal of the season.
The teams played a scoreless second period as USM sophomore goalie Nia Kelly (Cary, N.C.) protected the one-goal advantage at one end, and SHU sophomore Nicole Magee (Burlington, Mass.) was keeping her team in the game. Kelly had seven saves on the period, including a couple of stellar stops on junior Cara Curtin (Westford, Mass.). Magee was just as sharp making 14 saves in the period.
Banfield gave USM some breathing room at the 8:00 mark of the third period with her second goal of the game. Banfield took a pass from junior Talya Bent (Cranston, R.I.), skated into the Pioneer zone and beat Magee from the right-wing circle for a power-play goal.
Senior Bridget O'Brien (Boston, Mass.) had a hand in the Huskies' final two goals that iced the contest. O'Brien snapped home her third marker of the season at 16:32 after receiving a drop pass from sophomore Cassandra Sherman (North Smithfield, R.I.). O'Brien, along with rookie Lynn Kozlowski (Stoneham, Mass.), set up junior Julia Pearl (Essex Jct., Vt.) in the final minute for Pearl's fourth goal of the season.
Kelly had an easy third period as she was called upon to make only one stop, and finished the game with 12 saves. The shutout was the first of her collegiate career. Magee stopped 35 shots in a losing effort.
Southern Maine returns to ECAC Women's East play this Friday (6:00 p.m.) with a trip to Plymouth State University. Sacred Heart will travel to the College of the Holy Cross next Tuesday (7:00 p.m.) for its next game.