WORCESTER, Mass. – The College of the Holy Cross brought an end to the Saint Anselm College women's ice hockey team's 21-game road unbeaten streak, edging the Hawks, 1-0, on Saturday afternoon at the Hart Center in a matchup of the New England Women's Hockey Alliance's top-two teams.
After Saint Anselm (13-2-1, 8-1-1 NEWHA) and Holy Cross (9-5-2, 8-1-1 NEWHA) skated to a 0-0 tie on the Hawks' home ice back on Dec. 8, Kara Violette's goal early in the second period was all it took for the Crusaders to hand the Hawks their first loss away from Sullivan Arena in over 14 months. Saint Anselm had gone 19-0-2 on the road since a 5-2 setback at seventh-ranked Norwich on Nov. 11, 2016.
Goaltenders Maddie Scavotto and Julie Pelletier both posted 21-save shutouts in the scoreless tie two months ago and stole the show again on Saturday, combining to stop 39-of-40 shots on goal in the game. Pelletier recorded her third-career shutout by making 15 saves, while Scavotto made 24 saves to suffer just her fourth loss (28-4-3) in 35 career starts.
The lone goal of the game came on a Holy Cross power play at 2:20 of the second period when Violette put home a bouncing puck in front of the net for her sixth goal of the season. The goal started when Julie Matthias fired a shot from the left point on goal that Scavotto knocked down with her glove, but Violette found the puck and scored amongst a crowd in front of the net.
A little over two minutes later, Saint Anselm had its best chance to tie the game when senior Kaitlyn Spillane got by two defensemen on the left side on the power play but was saved 1-on-1 by Pelletier. The Holy Cross defense limited the Hawks to 15 shots in the game, Saint Anselm's second-lowest total of the season.
The Saint Anselm offense got a late chance to tie it up when the Crusaders took a penalty with 1:57 remaining. Just nineteen seconds into the power play, the Hawks got Scavotto off the ice to create a 6-on-4 advantage and generated two scoring chances. With 14 seconds remaining, Megan Klaus kept the puck in the offensive end and found an open Katy Meehan in the middle of the left circle, but Pelletier was equal to Meehan's effort at the near post.
With time winding down to a few seconds, Klaus threw the puck at the net from the right boards only for Pelletier to make her 15th and final save of the afternoon. The Hawks were unbeaten (3-0-1) in the last four meetings with the Crusaders since the start of last season.
Saint Anselm created the game's first clear-cut scoring chance six minutes in when Spillane outraced the Holy Cross defense down the left and dropped the puck for freshman Nicole Saber. Saber dragged the puck past a defender and fired a wrist shot from the slot that was thwarted by Pelletier.
The Crusaders held an 11-3 advantage in shots on goal in the first period and generated a few chances of their own. Scavotto denied Violette on the doorstep and Emily Lissner on the follow-up from the slot midway through the period, before denying Maeve Reilly with a glove save a few minutes later as Reilly cut in from the left wing.
Scavotto kept the Hawks within a goal at 11:30 of the third period, shutting down Reilly's backhand attempt with her blocker after Reilly was in on goal. Seven minutes later, Scavotto again stood strong to make a save on Katie MacCuaig in a 1-on-1 after MacCuaig forced a turnover deep in the Saint Anselm defensive end.
After playing four games in the last five days, Saint Anselm has the week off until heading to Franklin Pierce on Friday, Jan. 19 with puck drop set for 7:30 p.m.