UMass women’s hockey beats McKendree 4-1 to advance to ACHA tournament quarterfinals

Minutewomen outshot McKendree 30-20

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Cade Belisle / Daily Collegian

By Shanti Furtado and Johnny Depin

After a hard-fought defeat yesterday to Indiana Tech on Wednesday, the No.7 Massachusetts women’s hockey team kept its tournament chances alive on Thursday after defeating McKendree 4-1.

McKendree was no strangers to the Minutewomen in Thursday’s matchup as UMass faced the team during the regular season. The Minutewomen won 4-2 in their first game against them in Nov. but fell 3-2 in the second game of the series.

It was evident that UMass was well prepared to face McKendree on Thursday after it got out to a hot start in the first period. The offensive pressure the Minutewomen had been pushing for over the past 24 hour was rewarded. Captain Holly Russell found Saorise Connolly who fired the puck at the blue line which slipped past the pads of McKendree’s netminder Naomi Leasck. UMass outshot McKendree by a margin of 12-4 by the end of the first period.

The second period opened with the Minutewomen on a one-man advantage with the powerplay. UMass didn’t score on the man advantage although the team did control much of the possession into its attacking zone. By the midway point of the period, McKendree began to match the production of the Minutewomen.

UMass was called for three penalties during the second period. Two minor penalties were at the hands of Brianna O’Neill and Olivia Jordan, in addition to a five-minute major and game misconduct on Maya Borden. Despite putting up nine shots on goal against the Minutewomen, McKendree couldn’t convert a shot into a goal.

UMass was successful on all five of its penalty kills on Thursday. Conversely, the Minutewomen were unable to convert on their own five powerplays.

UMass’ ineffectiveness on the powerplay wouldn’t matter, as the Minutewomen exploded for three goals in the final period. For the first half of the third, the two teams remained locked in a staunch defensive contest. With 11 minutes left in the third, Connolly added her second goal of the game to give the Minutewomen a two-goal cushion. 36 seconds later, O’Neill added another off a pass from Rachel Difraia.

With less than four minutes left, Nicole Maimonis found the back of the net after some fancy stickwork and a pass from Regan Paterson to make the score 4-0. McKendree ended up finding the back of the net in the final seconds, but it was too late. The Minutewomen cruised comfortably to a 4-1 win.

Mary Honan was excellent in goal, holding onto a shutout until the final seconds. She blocked 19-of-20 (95 percent) shots that came her way. Her performance Thursday comes after a game in which she saved 27 shots against a difficult Indiana Tech team.

The Minutewomen now await the results of the second game from St. Louis today, as the matchup between the University of Colorado and Adrian College could determine who UMass will face on day three of the ACHA tournament. A victory from Adrian College would mean a date for UMass with No. 2 Midland University.

Shanti Furtado can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @Shantifurtado. Johnny Depin can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @Jdepin101.