Manchester, N.H. (March 2) -- The first-seeded Saint Anselm women's hockey team took home the ECAC Women's Open Championship crown with a 7-2 victory over third-seeded Sacred Heart on Sunday afternoon at Sullivan Arena. The championship marks the third time in four years and the second consecutive time the Hawks have won the title. The game marks the end of the season for both teams, as the Hawks finish the season 23-2-1 and Sacred Heart finishes the season 7-17-1.
The Hawks jumped on the board first, as Kelsey Johnson (Byfield, Mass.) scored her team-leading 22nd goal at the 2:21 mark, assisted by Cindy Lebel (Greenville, Maine) and Kathleen Twomey (Londonderry, N.H.). The Hawks wasted no time in making it a two-goal game, as Lebel scored just 30 seconds later to put the Hawks up 2-0. Twomey picked up a goal at the 16:37 mark in the period to give the Hawks a three goal cushion heading into the second period.
Samantha Rowe (Chelmsford, Mass.) scored at the 2:18 mark of the second period to increase the lead to 4-0, assisted by Brittany Kretzman (Edina, Minn.). Arianna Rigano (Malden, Mass.) picked up her second goal of the tournament at the 5:49 mark, assisted by Kasey Cedorchuk (Charlestown, Mass.).
The Pioneers struck at the 8:27 mark on the power play to get on the board, as Kate Dunlop (Flesherton, Ontario) picked up her second goal of the tournament. Devon Gaslin (Augusta, Maine) assisted on the goal. The Hawks responded quickly though, as Rigano scored her second goal of the game just 36 seconds later, assisted by Bianca DeSantis (Georgetown, Mass.) and Cedorchuk.
The Pioneers struck again at the 16:35 mark when Lauren Fontaine (Windsor, Ontario) scored, assisted by Gaslin. The Hawks responded again in less than a minute however, re-gaining the five-goal lead. Rigano picked up her third goal of the period and the game at the 17:24 mark, assisted by DeSantis and Lebel. The Hawks took the 7-2 lead into the third period where no scoring occured.
The ECAC recognized seven players for their efforts in this weekend's tournament, as one Holy Cross player, one Saint Michael's player, two Sacred Heart players, and two Saint Anselm players were awarded All-Tournament Team honors. Arianna Rigano of Saint Anselm was awarded the MVP award for the tournament. Rigano finished with four goals and one assist over the two games, helping the team to its first place finish.
Arianna Rigano, Saint Anselm
Cindy Lebel, Saint Anselm (Defense)
Lisa Wilson, Holy Cross (Defense)
Leslie Pomponi, Saint Michael's (Forward)
Kate Dunlop, Sacred Heart (Forward)
Katie McLaughlin, Sacred Heart (Forward)
Andrea Berlin, Saint Anselm (Goaltender)