Women's ice hockey locks down NEWHA Regular Season title

Women's ice hockey locks down NEWHA Regular Season title

MANCHESTER, N.H. – For the second straight season, the Saint Anselm College women's ice hockey team locked down the Regular Season championship of the New England Women's Hockey Alliance, doing so with a 5-1 victory over Saint Michael's College on Saturday afternoon at Sullivan Arena.

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The Hawks improve to 20-2-1 overall, reaching the 20-win milestone for the fourth consecutive season and also for the 11th season in team history. Saint Anselm is also an impressive 13-0-1 against NEWHA opponents, remaining without a single defeat this season. The Purple Knights fall to 4-14-1 overall and 2-9-1 in the alliance.

Freshman Amanda Nylander (Hanover, Minn.) registered her first career hat trick in the game, becoming the third Hawks student-athlete this season to score three goals in a game. The last time that Saint Anselm had three skaters post a hat trick was the 2016-17 season where Alex Starczyk '17, Victoria Shea '17 and Kaitlyn Spillane '18 each had a hat trick - the latter trio did so within the first five games of the season.

Just like yesterday, Saint Anselm jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead, this time just before the two-minute mark. Junior Megan Klaus (State College, Pa.) sent a shot towards the net and Nylander deflected the puck by Saint Michael's goaltender Vika Simons. Shortly thereafter, Jordan Monbouquette of Saint Michael's sent a shot from the right circle to the upper right corner of the net, tying the game for the Purple Knights with the extra skater at the 7:59 mark of the period.

Saint Anselm regained the lead just under four minutes later as freshman Erin Meyers (Saint Paul, Minn.) sent a shot from the slot towards the net. Junior Jamie Gottwald (Easton, Mass.), who was screening Simons, tipped the puck home five-hole to make it 2-1. The lead grew to 3-1 with 1:03 left in the opening stanza as Nylander tipped home her second goal of the period. Sophomore Madison Sprague (White Bear Lake, Minn.) won the faceoff and sent the puck backward to classmate Gabby Monaco (La Verne, Minn.) at the point - Monaco sent a shot toward the net and Nylander was there for the deflection. 

Just like in Friday's victory, the game was scoreless through the second period of play. The Hawks outshot the opposition 15-6 in the frame and had plenty of opportunities to extend their lead, but the hosts had to kill off three penalties in the period to keep the Purple Knights from getting back into the game.

Nylander recorded her third goal of the game just before the two minute mark of the final period, securing her first-career hat trick. She spun around at the left circle and fired a shot towards the net to make it a three-goal advantage. Freshman Julia Scannell (Milton, Mass.) made it 5-1 at the 8:02 mark of the third with an unassisted marker to add insurance late in the tilt.

Saint Michael's had a power play chance after a tripping penalty at the 13:04 mark. They put three shots on net during that span but senior goaltender Logan Knip (Brooklyn Park, Minn.) turned them all away down the stretch.

The Hawks outshot the Purple Knights 9-1 in the final five minutes of regulation and 50-20 in the game. Knip finished with 19 saves for her fourth win of the season, wrapping her career with a 7-1 overall record, a 1.00 goals-against average and a .917 save percentage, making 88 saves on 96 shots against. She was a perfect 4-0 as a senior, yielding only the goal to Monbouquette on the season while halting 54 shots.

Simons stopped 45 shots in net for the Purple Knights.

Saint Anselm has a pair of NEWHA games left in the regular season, beginning on Friday, Feb. 8 at Sullivan Arena. The Hawks welcome the Pioneers from Sacred Heart University for a 4 p.m. contest - the Pioneers handed the Hawks their only NEWHA tie of the campaign.