Quinn, Starzyk lead Hawks back to NEHC Open title game

SHELTON, Conn.Alison Quinn and Alex Starzyk combined for seven points to lead the Saint Anselm College women's hockey team back to the New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) Open title game with a 5-1 victory over Sacred Heart University in the semifinals on Saturday at the Sports Center of Connecticut.

Box Score

Quinn matched her career-high with four points on two goals and two assists, while Starzyk had two goals and one assist for Saint Anselm (21-2-3), which advanced to the tournament's championship game for the 11th time in 13 appearances.

The Hawks will face the College of the Holy Cross in the title game on Sunday, Feb. 26 at 4 p.m., while Sacred Heart (20-9-1) will take on Franklin Pierce University in the consolation game. The Crusaders blanked the Ravens 3-0 in the day's first semifinal. The Hawks and Crusaders have combined to win 12 of the 14 NEHC Open titles to date, as each program goes in search of its seventh championship on Sunday.

The win also extended Saint Anselm's unbeaten streak to 13-straight games, which is tied for the second-longest run in program history. The meeting between the Hawks and Pioneers was the first in the postseason since Feb. 25, 2012 and Saint Anselm has won five of the seven meetings in the tournament.

Saint Anselm jumped out to a 3-0 lead after the first period thanks to two goals from Starzyk and one from Quinn. Starzyk got the Hawks going early, scoring on a wrist shot from between the circles to the top-left corner just five seconds after a power play expired.

Just 2:20 later, Starzyk doubled her tally and the Hawks' lead with her second goal in the early stages. After Quinn got the puck to her, Starzyk got the puck out of her feet, turned and found the back of the net at 7:03 to make it 2-0.

Before the period was over, Quinn added Saint Anselm's third, scoring from the right boards with 2:36 left in the opener. Quinn's three first-period points made her the eighth player in program history to record 100 career points and the third to do so this season, joining Starzyk and Alison Butler.

Sacred Heart got the only goal of the second period from Olivia Bryant on the power play with 4:36 left to cut the Hawks' deficit to two after two. Prior to Bryant's goal, Saint Anselm had chances to extend its lead to four, as Starzyk nearly completed her hat trick shortly after Quinn went end-to-end only for her shot to be saved by Kane. Scavotto produced a leg-pad save to deny Jayne Lewis on a breakaway with two minutes left in the period to keep the lead at two.

The score remained 3-1 until Saint Anselm scored twice in the final 6:31 to pull away. Martha Findley fired in a one-timer on a loose puck just inside the offensive zone at 13:29 of the third and Quinn added her second of the night with 1:21 to go to cap her four-point night.

Maddie Scavotto stopped 20-of-21 shots in the game to improve to 16-1-2 this season. Devan Kane took the loss for Sacred Heart despite 29 saves to fall to 7-8-1. The Hawks outshot the Pioneers 34-21 in the game after a 13-4 margin in the third period.

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