(Release courtesy New England Hockey Conference)
MARSHFIELD, Mass. – The New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) has announced its pairings for the postseason tournament and the Norwich University women's ice hockey team claimed the number one overall seed after posting a perfect 14-0-0 conference record.
Defending NEHC Champion Norwich will host eighth seed New England College in quarterfinal action. No. 2-seed University of Massachusetts Boston will welcome No. 7 seed Salve Regina University, while No. 3 Castleton University will host No. 6 University of Southern Maine. Rounding out the quarterfinal pairings is fourth-seeded Plymouth State University who will host University of New England.
This marks the eighth straight season the Cadets come into the NEHC postseason as the No. 1 overall seed. Their offense is averaging a league-best 5.52 goals per game thanks to seven different 20-point scorers. Amanda Conway's (Methuen, Mass.) 47 points on 26 goals and 21 assists ranks third in the country. Senior netminder Laurie King (Waddington, N.Y.) leads the NEHC in goals against average (1.29) while her .928 save percentage ranks third.
The Beacons are led by senior forward Jane Morrisette who's posted 17 points on 13 goals and four assists. Her 13 goals rank fourth-most in the NEHC. Morrisette has also been impressive on special teams; her three shorthanded goals are tied for third-most in the country.
The Spartans will look to netminder Alexis Kalm to continue her impressive season in net. Kalm ranks in the top five of all goaltending categories in the NEHC. On offense senior Aimee Briand paces the Spartans with 20 points on 11 goals and nine assists. Freshman Ali Stevens is close behind, posting 19 points on 10 goals and nine assists which rank her second amongst all freshmen in NEHC scoring.
The Panthers locked up the fourth overall seed and right to host a quarterfinal round game thanks to a thrilling come-from-behind victory over Salve Regina in the last game of the regular season. This will mark the first time in program history the team will host a postseason contest. Emelie Lindqvist has been impressive between the pipes all year for PSU. Her 2.07 goals against average ranks third best in league while her .941 save percentage ranks second.
The Nor'easters of UNE have also benefitted from stellar goaltending as Caty Flagg leads the league with an eye-dropping .946 save percentage. Aside from Norwich, UNE is the only team in the NEHC whose defense surrenders less than two goals per game (1.92). Three different players in Jessie Scott, Tatum Gietl and Julianne Sheehan have all posted double-digit points for the Nor'easters this season.
The Huskies will look to junior Julia Ornsby to continue her offensive production after leading the team during the regular season with 13 points on seven goals and six assists. USM has also had major contributions from a pair of freshmen in Rylie Binette (4-7-11) and Shannon Colbert (6-4-10).
Junior forward Taylor Chisholm leads the Seahawks offense on a balanced eight goals and eighth assists for 16 points. Senior Meredith Peppes has been a threat from the blue line, notching five goals and five assists. Her 10 points rank seventh-most amongst defenders in the NEHC.
The Pilgrims will aim to play spoilers behind five juniors who lead the program in scoring. Brittany Tierney (6-3-9) and Vicki Shaw (5-4-9) lead the way with nine points apiece.
The NEHC postseason begins with quarterfinal action on Saturday, February 17. The semifinal round is scheduled for Saturday, February 24 with the league championship-taking place on Saturday, March 3. All games will be held at the campuses of the highest seed.
Full NEHC pairings listed below:
#1 Norwich (14-0-0) vs. #8 New England College (1-12-1) – 3:00pm
#2 UMass Boston (9-3-2) vs. #7 Salve Regina (3-11-0) – 3:00pm
#3 Castleton (8-5-1) vs. #6 Southern Maine (4-9-1) – 3:00pm
#4 Plymouth State (7-5-2) vs. #5 University of New England (4-5-5) – 7:00pm