SHELTON – Casey Stathopoulos' 100th career point provided the breakthrough and Haley Payne followed shortly after with the game winner, as the Sacred Heart women's ice hockey team defeated Becker 2-1 on Tuesday night at the Sports Center of Connecticut. The victory snapped a two game losing streak for the Pioneers, who now stand at 9-10-2.
It took 33 shots on net through the first 45 plus minutes before SHU finally was able to get one past Becker goalie Madison Rigsby. Working on its seventh power play of the evening, it was Cassandra Hanlon's initial shot from the point that led to Stathopoulos' milestone goal. The senior was waiting right to the left of the Hawks' net, collecting the shot and slamming it home for the first goal of the game with just 14:15 remaining.
In addition to her 100th career point, it was Stathopoulos' team-leading 11th goal of the season. Hanlon now leads all defenseman on the team with five points, while Taylor Moreland started it all for her 11th assist, good for second on the team behind Stathopoulos.
Payne's game-winner came less than five minutes later. The freshman collected a turnover and skated in on net before unleashing a wrister from the slot off the left post for her second goal of the season at the 9:52 mark.
It proved necessary, as Becker finally beat Sacred Heart goalie Nicole Magee with 7:38 to go. Working on just its second man advantage situation of the night, a five on three, Bailey Coons ripped a shot from the top of right circle that hit off Magee's shoulder, ricocheting up into the air before bouncing just past the line.
Becker had its chances to tie it, but Magee stopped the final four shots she faced to preserve the win. That brought her save total to 13 on the night, while Rigsby was forced to make 42 in the losing effort. SHU held a 44-14 advantage in shots, outshooting the Hawks by at least eight in each period.
In a physical game, there were a total of 13 penalties, ten of which were committed by Becker. Sacred Heart could only take advantage on Stathopoulos' scored though, while the Hawks converted one of their three chances.
SHU controlled play in the first period, outshooting Becker 15-4 with numerous opportunities, none better than when Teagan Ketchum skated past numerous defenders from her own blue and beat Rigsby, only to be denied by the post.
It was much of the same in the second as Sacred recorded the first 14 shots of the period, but Rigsby continued to answer the call. Becker even took some momentum into the second intermission with the final three attempts on net.
SHU returns to the road for a three-game road trip this Friday as it travels to Johnson & Wales (R.I.) for a 6:05 start.