SHELTON- Despite a 29-22 advantage of shots and a late flurry of attempts late in the third period, the Sacred Heart women's ice hockey team could not complete the comeback in a 3-2 loss to Stevenson on Friday night at the Sports Center of Connecticut. SHU nearly erased a 3-0 second period deficit, but the loss ultimately snapped a four game winning streak to bring the Pioneers' record to 7-6-2.
Down 3-0 late in the second period, Sacred Heart finally got on the board thanks to a five on three opportunity. Amie Varano had her initial shot blocked, only to collect her own rebound and fire a shot from the right circle off the left post for her second goal of the season 1:59 before the second intermission. Assisting on the play was senior Heather Daley, who also helped set up the second Pioneer goal for her first career two-assist game.
Stevenson (12-3-1) had an opportunity to retake a three-goal lead as a SHU penalty from the second carried over to the third, but McKenzie Taggart's shot struck the post just over a minute in. The Pioneers would take advantage, pulling within one on its second power play goal of the evening with 11:20 remaining. Casey Stathopoulos fired a shot that Saraha Modzelewski got a piece of, but the rebound found Megan Ofner right in front of net and she sent it in to extend the pressure on the Mustangs. Stathopoulos extended her point streak to nine on the score.
Two late penalties gave Sacred Heart several great chances force overtime, but
Modzelewski made sure that did not happen, stopping all six shots she faced. A Pioneer penalty with 2:03 to go all but assured the victory, as SHU was not able to get a final shot off while on the penalty kill.
Coming off back-to-back shutouts, Nicole Magee made 19 saves in defeat. Modzelewski opposed her with 27 stops in the win. SHU converted the two power play opportunties on five attempts, while Stevenson went 1-4 on the man advantage.
In a back and forth first period in which both teams had nine shots on net, Stevenson was able to find the back for the net on its first attempt on goal. Chelsea Blackburn found a loose puck in front of net and beat Magee 5:49 in.
SHU provided the early pressure in the second, recording five of the first six shots in the opening five minutes but once again it was the Mustangs who struck first. Emma Suness' shot deflected high into the air and landed right in front of the net for a waiting Kellen Wittman, who beat a surprised Magee in the top right corner for a 2-0 lead with 11:53 showing.
After not having a penalty for the first 32 plus minutes of the contest, there were six in the in the final 7:36 of the second, setting up a wild last few minutes ahead of the second intermission. Following coinciding penalties, the first power play opportunity of the night provided yet another Stevenson goal, from Mackenzie Taggart, at the 4:37 mark. Jessie Capanelli found her in front of net for a commanding 3-0 lead.
SHU will look for a split tomorrow when the two teams face off at the Sports Center at 4 pm.