MANCHESTER, N.H. – The Saint Anselm College women's hockey team polished off its 2014-15 regular season in style with four first-period goals en route to a 5-2 Senior Day win over ECAC East rival Manhattanville Saturday afternoon at Sullivan Arena.
The Hawks improved to 17-5-2 on the year and compiled 13-2-2 league record for a second-place finish in the ECAC East conference. Manhattanville fell to 10-10-5 overall and 8-6-3 in league play.
Six seniors made their final appearances in Sullivan Arena Saturday afternoon as forwards Sabrina Iannetti (Lynn, Mass.) and Tiffany Herron (Clinton Township, Mich.), defensemen Robin Yoshida (Los Alamos, N.M.) and Franny Nicholson (Saint Paul, Minn.) and goaltenders Lindsey Brown (Mounds View, Minn.) and Janice Michaud (Westwood, Mass.) were honored prior to the starting lineups.
Both teams' pent up energy following the Senior Day festivities was on full display through the opening period in which five goals were scored and five penalties were issued.
Junior Alison Butler (Danvers, Mass.) got on the scoresheet first at the 5:08 mark of the first period with the game opening score. Iannetti had played the puck around the left boards to freshman Jackie Guy (Saint Louis, Mo.). Guy appeared to crack a deep shot into the zone that skipped off the stick of Butler before bouncing past Valiant goaltender Ekaterina Nikonova.
Junior Alex Kazmer (Crystal Lake, Ill.) made it 2-0 Hawks with a power-play put-away just over a minute later. Sophomore Alex Starzyk (Enfield, Conn.) sent a shot into the crease from the right faceoff circle that to a waiting Iannetti. Nikonova couldn't find the puck on the second rebound however as the junior tri-captain was there to scoop home the game's second goal.
The Valiants answered just under the 12-minute mark of the period, taking advantage of a penalty on Saint Anselm. Manhattanville's Sydney Asselstine received a perfect drop into the zone from leading scorer Alla Traun on the right post and the senior beat the outstretched glove of Saint Anselm goaltender Lindsey Brown to cut the lead in half.
Saint Anselm was far from finished with its scoring in the period, however, as junior Halle Kent (Lake Placid, N.Y.) corralled the puck in the right corner and found a streaking Herron who one-timed a rocket past Nikonova. Freshman Kaitlin Spillane (Franklin, Mass.) was also credited with a secondary assist on the play to put the Hawks up 3-1 with two minutes left in the opening frame.
Just as Saint Anselm P.A. announcer Gary Smith alerted teams of one minute remaining in the period, Starzyk carried through the zone and rifled off a low shot into the pads of Nikonova. Kazmer was there for the rebound but was also halted by the Valiant goaltender, but Starzyk kept with the play and just nudged the puck over the goal line to surge the Hawks to a 4-1 advantage at the first intermission.
Brown was very impressive throughout the day, recording a game-high 17 saves for Saint Anselm. Despite Manhattanville's 6-4 shot advantage in the second period, the senior goaltender effectively cut down a handful of breakaway opportunities for much of the first two periods. She would also take the win on the afternoon, improving to 14-0-1 on the year between the pipes.
Kent, who had already tallied an assist on the afternoon, added her first goal of the season at the 10:30 mark of the third period. She received a crossing pass from the left side from Guy and launched a deep crack that shook the back of the Manhattanville net. Starzyk also picked up her second assist and third point of the day with the secondary dish.
Following Kent's ringer, Michaud returned to the ice for her first action since a season-opening shutout win against Neumann. The senior goaltender would record three saves on four shots in nine and a half minutes.
With Franklin Pierce's 4-1 victory at Southern Maine Saturday afternoon, Saint Anselm has clinched the #2-seed for the ECAC Open tournament hosted by Saint Michael's in Colchester, Vt. They will play the winner of the play-in game between #3 Holy Cross and #4 Sacred Heart in Saturday's semifinal. Saint Michael's, which earned the #5-seed, received a bye on account of being the host institution. The Ravens and Purple Knights will battle in the other semifinal game at C. Douglas Cairns Arena.