March 1, 2011

Women's Journal: Big Green pull off great escape

by Mike Zhe

Amanda Trunzo (photo: David Silverman)

It’s one thing to advance in a playoff series.

It’s another to advance the way Dartmouth did over the weekend.

The Big Green, seeded third in the ECAC Hockey playoffs and needing a quarterfinal series win against No. 6 Clarkson to keep their NCAA tournament hopes alive, got extended to a third and deciding game after dropping the opener, 4-1, and then bouncing back to win Game 2, 4-2.

With a minute left in Game 3, the Green were not only trailing 3-2, they were shorthanded thanks to a five-minute major assessed to Moira Scanlon with just under four minutes to go. But with 54 seconds to go, Reagan Fischer popped an Amanda Trunzo pass past goalie Erica Howe to tie it.

Dartmouth dominated the sudden-death period, outshooting the Golden Knights 19-1 and punching its semifinal ticket when Camille Dumais, one of the key players during this team’s stellar stretch run, scored 18:37 into the OT on the power play, her second goal of the game. She also had an assist on Fischer’s game-tying goal.

The Big Green (21-10-0) now face another must-win as they inch closer to NCAA inclusion. They sit in a tie for eighth in the PairWise Rankings with North Dakota and visit second-place Harvard (17-10-4) in a one-game semifinal Thursday night.

The other semifinal Thursday sees No. 5 Quinnipiac (22-11-3) playing at top-seeded Cornell (28-2-1). The semifinal winners will meet Saturday for the championship at the home of the higher seed.

NEHJ Player of the Week

Victoria Vigilanti, soph., Quinnipiac

The fifth-seeded Bobcats advanced to the league semifinals for the first time ever and Vigilanti was a big pat of it. In 2-1 and 2-0 road wins at No. 4 Princeton, she stopped 38 of 39 shots.

The Bobcats won in thrilling fashion in Friday’s opener, with Brittany Lyons (Canton, Mass.) taking a pass from Kelly Babstock and scoring the game-winner with just five seconds left in regulation.

Looking Ahead

Hockey East semifinals, Saturday (at BU’s Walter Brown Arena)

No. 5 Northeastern vs. No. 1 Boston University, noon

No. 3 Providence vs. No. 2 Boston College, 3 p.m.

The marquee game is the second one. Providence (22-11-1), after knocking on the door all season, would love to crash through on this stage and add some sizzle to their NCAA tournament hopes by knocking off the Eagles (21-6-6).

Kate Bacon recorded her team-high 30th point of the season on an assist in a 5-2 first-round win over Maine Saturday and Laura Veharanta scored twice.

BC won the season series 2-1, splitting a home-and-home in late January and winning at Schneider Arena, 4-2, in February. Kelli Stack leads the league in scoring with 33-20-53 totals.

In the first semifinal, Northeastern and standout goalie Florence Schelling will try to slow down the explosive Terriers, who rank sixth in Division 1 with 3.56 goals per game.

The Huskies’ 4-0 first-round win at No. 5 UConn marked their first-ever victory in conference tournament play. Schelling made 25 saves to record her 10th shutout of the season, and sophomore Casey Pickett produced two goals and an assist.

Around ECAC Hockey

Maybe no team was more impressive over the weekend than Harvard, which dispatched St. Lawrence by scores of 6-1 and 8-3 in their quarterfinal series. Jillian Dempsey (Winthrop, Mass.) had two goals in each game. In Game 1, the Crimson raced out to a 4-0 in the opening 13 minutes. In Game 2, Kate Buesser (Wolfeboro, N.H.) had a hat trick  … Quinnipiac freshman Babstock and Yale goalie Jackee Snikeris were named to the All-ECAC Hockey first team on Tuesday, the only non-Cornell players tabbed. Second-team picks included forwards Dempsey and Kelly Foley (Boston, Mass.) of Dartmouth, and Harvard defenseman Josephine Pucci. Third-team picks included Vigilanti, defensemen Leanna Coskren (Walpole, Mass.) of Harvard and Sasha Nanji of Dartmouth, and Harvard forward Liza Ryabkina. Babstock and Harvard defenseman Marissa Gedman (Framingham, Mass.) were All-Rookie selections. 

Mike Zhe can be reached at mzhe@hockeyjournal.com.