NEHC Quarterfinals - #5 Johnson and Wales Knocks Out #4 Southern Maine

NEHC Quarterfinals - #5 Johnson and Wales Knocks Out #4 Southern Maine
Huskies Finish Season 9-11-6 Overall

            GORHAM, Maine -- Juniors Samantha Kawejsza (Warners, N.Y.) and Kathryn Mason (Grafton, Mass.) each scored two goals and rookie goalie Jasmine Mucci (Arlington, Mass.) stopped 18 shots as the fifth-seeded Johnson and Wales Wildcats shut out the fourth-seeded University of Southern Maine Huskies 5-0 in a quarterfinal round game in the 2019 New England Hockey Conference Women's Championship tournament at the USM Ice Arena on Saturday.

            The win vaults the Wildcats into next weekend's semifinal round against an opponent to be determined.  The Wildcats have won seven of their last eight and improve to 10-13-3 overall.  The Huskies, playing their first home playoff game since 2009, closed the season with a 9-11-6 mark.

            The sides skated through a scoreless first period as Mucci (five saves) and USM senior Britney Evangelista (North Smithfield, R.I.; 10 saves) turned every scoring bid aside.  The JWU penalty-killing unit did an outstanding job killing off back-to-back penalties that overlapped for 23 seconds.

            Kawejsza broke the scoreless game with a power-play goal at 4:58 of the second frame tipping a blue-line shot from senior Victoria Perez (Livonia, Mich.).  The Wildcats penalty-killing unit again did the job protecting the lead killing off back-to-back penalties that overlapped giving USM a two-skater advantage for 55 seconds.

            Mason scored her two goals at 14:41 and 19:45 to give the visitors a 3-0 lead going into the final period.  Mason's finished off a 2-on-1 with sophomore Hannah Tracy (Hanson, Mass.) for her first goal, and stuffed in the rebound of Tracy's wrap-around attempt in the final seconds.

            The Wildcats added a pair of insurance goals in the third to pull away.  Kawejsza scored her second of the game scoring in tight at 9:35.  Junior Cassidy Simanski (Cumberland, R.I.) tallied a power-play goal with 1:05 remaining when her shot from the top of the right-wing circle through a partial screen eluded Evangelista.

            Tracy and senior Molly Gray (Bozeman, Mont.) each had two assists in the game.  The shutout was the second of the season for Mucci.

            Johnson and Wales finished the game with a 29-18 edge in shots on goal and was 2 for 7 on the power play.  Southern Maine went 0 for 6 with the extra skater.