|St. Michael's College||University of Southern Maine|
GORHAM, Maine — Junior Jillian Witwicki (Danvers, Mass.) scored a power-play goal with 7.3 seconds remaining to give the visiting Saint Michael’s College Purple Knights a 3-2, come-from-behind victory over the University of Southern Maine Huskies in a New England Hockey Conference game Friday afternoon at the USM Ice Arena.
The win snapped a four-game losing skid for the Purple Knights, and improved their record to 4-19-0 overall and 4-12-0 in NEHC play. The Huskies dropped their fifth straight game to slip to 6-17-1 overall and 4-11-1 in conference action.
Down 2-1 with less than four minutes to play in regulation, the Purple Knights tied the game when senior Erin Dwyer (Weymouth, Mass.) scored her eighth goal of the season at 16:25. Dwyer lifted a backhander over the right pad of USM sophomore goalie Britney Evangelista (North Smithfield, R.I.) after the Purple Knights forced a turnover in the neutral zone. Senior Tori Hubbard (Saint Albans, Vt.) collected the lone assist.
Saint Michael’s went on the power play with 1:44 to play. With the seconds winding down, Witwicki got her stick to the puck in a scramble in front of Evangelista and poked the disk into the net for her third marker of the season. Seniors Tori Dinger (Norwell, Mass.) and Kayla Kee (Newton, Mass.) were credited with the assists.
Southern Maine took a 1-0 lead at 5:52 of the opening period when rookie Riley Kirk (West Bath, Maine) scored her first collegiate goal on a shot from the blue line. Sophomores Alex Mitchell (Wrentham, Mass.) and Tawni Mohler (McCall, Idaho) set up Kirk for a shot from the center of the ice that found its way through a maze of players in front of SMC senior goalie Tina Frasca (Norwood, Mass.).
Junior Katherine O’Brien (East Sandwich, Mass.) equalized for the visitors at 8:16 of the second period. In a frantic scramble in front of Evangelista, O’Brien somehow managed to get enough of the puck to force it over the goal line. Classmate Ashley Dineen (Somers, N.Y.) earned the lone assist.
Southern Maine regained the lead at 17:37 as sophomore Jensen Hamblett (Colchester, Vt.) fired a low shot from the blue line that found its way inside the right post for a power-play goal. Seniors Olivia Barragree (Red Lodge, Mont.) and Katie Couture (Harrisville, R.I.) set up Hamblett.
The Huskies finished the game with a 22-21 edge in shots on goal. Frasca stopped 20 shots to earn her third win of the season. Evangelista had 18 saves.
Southern Maine concludes the regular season tomorrow afternoon (1:00 p.m.) hosting league-leader Saint Anselm College. Saint Michael’s will face the University of New England tomorrow (4:00 p.m.).