Purple Knights drop tournament play-in round

WINCHENDON, Mass. – The fifth-seeded St. Michael’s College women’s ice hockey team stood tied with No. 3 Franklin Pierce University heading into the third period before falling by a 3-1 count during the New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) Open Tournament play-in game on Wednesday at The Winchendon School’s Ritchie Arena. The Purple Knights ended the year 4-21, while the Ravens improved to 18-6-1.

First-year Jordan Monbouquette (Wayland, Mass./Lawrence Academy) scored for Saint Michael’s, while senior Athena Akiki (Allendale, N.J./New Jersey Rockets) went 10-for-18 on faceoffs with an assist in her final college game. Classmate Carolyn Avery (Lexington, Mass./Lexington) was 7-for-15, while senior Tina Frasca (Norwood, Mass./Tabor Academy) made 39 saves for her 38th career 30-save game, becoming the sixth Purple Knight ever with 1,500 career stops. Classmates Erin Dwyer (Weymouth, Mass./Archbishop Williams) and Kayla Kee (Newton, Mass./Newton South) matched a school mark by each appearing in their 103rd career game, tying a standard already shared by three people, including Assistant Coach Meghan Sweezey ’10.

Seniors Michelle Holmes and Marisa Ketterman and first-year Bridgette Prentiss all scored for Franklin Pierce, and senior Shannon O’Neil made 16 stops.

Franklin Pierce held a narrow 13-8 edge in shots during the opening period, with Prentiss scoring 2:26 in on the first shot of the game. After beating a defender, Prentiss snapped a shot from the right circle over Frasca’s blocker side. The Purple Knights had a string of three shots a little more than 6:30 into the stanza, with one going wide, another being blocked, and senior Sarah Bagley’s (Concord, Mass./Concord-Carlisle) middle attempt being saved. Saint Michael’s killed a pair of penalties during the period, with Frasca making three stops, including a pair during a 4-on-3 Raven advantage that lasted for 1:14.

Despite yielding an 18-5 advantage in second-period shots, the visitors netted the lone goal while killing another penalty. At 7:08, Monbouquette tallied her second goal of the year thanks to helpers from Akiki and first-year Arianna Boscia (Cranston, R.I./La Salle Academy). After Akiki tipped a pass to Monbouquette, the rookie ripped a shot from the left circle that deflected off of a Raven and in. Frasca made four saves on an ensuing Franklin Pierce power play, and the teams headed into the third period tied.

Franklin Pierce gained an 11-4 shots lead during the final period, bookending the frame with Ketterman’s winning tally after 42 seconds before Holmes scored an insurance goal with 1:13 to go. Ketterman tallied four seconds following first-year Kayla Trujillo’s faceoff victory. Frasca kept the Purple Knights within one goal thanks to a pair of saves during a power play that began at 6:10, and the visitors had three attempts blocked during a power play that started at the 13:32 mark before junior Jillian Witwicki (Danvers, Mass./Pingree School) was stopped late in the woman advantage. At 18:47, Holmes fired a backhander into the short side while warding off a defender. With Frasca pulled for an extra skater, Dwyer’s final shot from the blue line with 10 seconds left was stopped.

St. Michael’s went 4-7 down the stretch during the second semester, with four losses by three goals or fewer, including two by 3-2 counts. Frasca finished the season with a 3.20 goals-against average and a .916 save percentage, figures good for third and fourth, respectively, in program annals. Each of the lowest three GAAs belong to Frasca, who missed her entire junior year due to injury, while three of the top four save percentages are hers. With 524 saves, she collected the eighth-best total ever at the College this winter despite sharing time in net.

Dwyer concluded her time at Saint Michael’s sixth in career goals (31), seventh in points (55) and 10th in assists (24). Frasca and senior Abby Burke (Bedford, Mass./The Rivers School) are also scattered about the record book. Frasca is first in GAA (2.85) and save percentage (.922), third in saves per game (30.1), sixth in saves (1,507), and seventh in minutes (2,674:18) and wins. Burke is tied for first in shutouts (3), second in GAA (3.62), third in save percentage (.899), tied for third in wins, sixth in minutes (2,733:02) and seventh in saves (1,471).

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