Southern Maine Edges New England College 3-2
GORHAM, Maine -- Senior Jensen Hamblett (Hinesburg, Vt.) scored a power-play goal with 4:47 remaining in regulation to give the University of Southern Maine Huskies a 3-2 victory over the visiting New England College Pilgrims in a New England Hockey Conference women's game Saturday afternoon on Senior Day at the USM Ice Arena. The game was the regular-season finale for both teams.
The win was the second straight for the Huskies and avenged a 1-0 loss to the Pilgrims back in December. The Huskies finished the regular season 9-10-6 overall and 6-6-4 in NEHC play. The Pilgrims dropped their fifth straight game to finish the regular season 3-21-1 overall and 2-13-1 in conference play.
Hamblett scored the game-winning goal with a blast from the blue line after taking a pass from junior Grace Simmons (Buffalo, N.Y.) and walking to the center before firing on NEC senior goaltender Ashley Castriotta (Framingham, Mass.). The goal was the fourth of the season for Hamblett. Junior Jill Hannigan (Portland, Maine) picked up the second assist on the play.
The Pilgrims tied the game earlier in the third period when senior Vicki Shaw (Dracut, Mass.) and junior Tara Turcotte (Huntington Beach, Calif.) combined to work the puck out of the NEC end, through the center zone and into the offensive zone. Turcotte slipped a pass across to Shaw in the high slot and her shot eluded USM senior goalie Britney Evangelista (North Smithfield, R.I.) to tie the game at 5:11.
The sides traded goals in the opening period. USM took a 1-0 lead when Hannigan made a nifty redirect on a shot from junior Mikayla Butkus (Essex Jct., Vt.) for a power-play marker. Hamblett picked up the second assist.
NEC tied the game at 15:30 as senior Alexa Scribner (Falmouth, Mass.) stuffed in a shot at the left post after taking a feed from Shaw.
Southern Maine took a 2-1 lead in the second period as rookie Brianna Doty (Lyndonville, Vt.) took a pass from junior Katie Nolan (Dorchester, Mass.) and beat Castriotta from the top of the right-wing circle for another power-play marker at 12:25.
The Huskies piled up a 42-19 edge in shots on goal and converted on 3 of 10 power-play opportunities. Evangelista made 17 saves to earn the win and improve her overall record to 5-3-6. Castriotta stopped 39 shots, including 15 in both the second and third periods. NEC had just one power-play chance in the game.
Following the completion of Saturday's regular season finales, the NEHC will announce the playoff pairings on Sunday for next weekend's quarterfinal round.