Women's hockey falls to Utica in ECAC West Quarterfinals


UTICA, N.Y.—Fourth-seeded Utica College (17-8-1) built an early lead and held off the SUNY Potsdam women's hockey team (12-10-4) 4-1 in the ECAC West Quarterfinals at the Utica Auditorium on Sunday afternoon. Bears All-Rookie goaltender Abby Tardelli (Potsdam, N.Y./North Country Ice Storm) was strong in goal with 28 saves and senior captain Brittany Lucky (Kanata, Ontario/Ottawa Senators) scored for the Bears. Sophomore forward Morgan Reed had a hat trick for the Pioneers.

After a wild opening stanza a week ago, this afternoon's contest saw just one goal scored. The first period featured end-to-end rushes, but very little sustained pressure. The Pioneers jumped out 1-0 at the 2:56 mark as Morgan Reed fired a rebound past Bears All-Rookie goaltender Abby Tardelli (Potsdam, N.Y./North Country Ice Storm). Potsdam senior forward Jessica Silveira (Brampton, Ontario/Brampton Thunder) had the Bears first strong scoring chance of the period seconds later, but Utica goalie Jennifer Hamel handled the shot confidently. Overlapping penalties in the middle of the period resulted in abbreviated power plays for both teams and some grade A scoring chances, but Hamel and Tardelli kept the offenses frustrated. Potsdam's best chance of the period came at the 9:56 mark as freshman forward Amanda Peterson (West Chazy, N.Y./Chazy Flyers) centered a pass to junior captain Izzy Fayerman (Calgary, Alberta/The Edge). Hamel took the slapshot in the gut and held on. With 3:35 left, Pioneer forward Vanessa Maines knocked down a pass went in all alone, only to be stuffed by Tardelli. The score remained 1-0 after 20 minutes with a slightly deceptive 13-3 Utica advantage in shots.

Pioneer assistant captain Megan Myers made it a 2-0 contest just 38 into the second period, shooting from the side of the net. The Bears went on their first power play just 25 seconds later. At 1:53, senior captain Brittany Lucky (Kanata, Ontario/Ottawa Senators) fired a shot from the right point. The puck was tipped up on top of the net. It then dropped into the crease and slid across the goal line to make it 2-1. Silveira and senior assistant captain Jenn Crawford (Burlington, Ontario/Stony Creek Sabres) assisted on the goal. Just over three minutes later, a Potsdam turnover resulted in Reed's second goal of the game. The Bears were back on the power play a minute after the goal. The power-play unit moved the puck well in the Pioneers zone and created several strong chances. However, Utica flooded the front of the net with bodies and Hamel continued to lock down the pucks that did get through. The rest of the period was more end-to-end action with great goaltending in both nets. Potsdam outshot Utica 11-8 in the middle stanza.

Myers opened the third period by making a move around a Bears defender, but was robbed on the backhand by Tardelli. The defense tightened up after save and the Bears slowly built momentum in the Pioneer zone. Hamel stopped a flurry of Potsdam shots at the 13-minute mark, the best coming on a Peterson chance point-blank. Utica responded with a two-on-one break but was stonewalled by Tardelli. Fayerman and Peterson hooked up for another chance three minutes later, but Hamel stopped the initial shot and the rebound bounced harmlessly wide. With 7:39 remaining, Reed buried a rebound at the left side of the net to complete her hat trick. The Bears controlled much of the play territorially for the remainder of the game, but couldn't get any closer, falling 4-1.

Hamel made the difference for the Pioneers with 23 saves, many of them difficult and at crucial times. Utica finished with a 32-24 advantage in shots. Potsdam was 1-3 on the man advantage, while the Pioneers were just 0-1.

The loss brings to a close the careers of Potsdam seniors Brittany and Amanda Lucky, Crawford and Silveira. The Bears won a program-best 44 games during their four seasons. Silveira finishes her career as Potsdam's third-leading scorer all-time with 35 goals and 48 assists for 83 points. Brittany Lucky is fourth with 16 goals and 44 assists for 60 points. Crawford is fifth with 27 goals and 26 assists for 53 points. Amanda Lucky, after just two short seasons, finishes sixth with 18 goals and 30 assists for 48 points.