March 1, 2008
Utica, NY -
Traveling to Utica, NY for the quarterfinal game in the ECAC West playoffs Head Coach Matt Kennedy worked around the clock to prepare his team. The Women's Ice Hockey team was taking on a Utica team that had beaten them 11-1 in the two previous match ups this season. Kennedy anticipated a good performance from his team and he believed his team could upset the ninth ranked team in the country.
The Knights did not disappoint their coach. They came out firing on all cylinders. The team took an early lead when freshmen Nicki Blazenko (Burlington Baracudas/Burlington, ONT) followed her own shot and beat Utica's sophomore goalie Jill Doherty (Kents Hill School/Wellesley, MA) with a shot to the top left of the goal putting the Knights up 1-0 in the first.
Freshmen goalie Mel Brunet (Sudbury Wolves/Sudbury, ONT) was masterful in the net. Working along side her defensemen she kept the Pioneers at bay throughout the game giving the Knights a chance to win the game. Brunet made a total of 46 saves for the game. By the end of the second stanza the Pioneers had outshot the Knights 31-14 and were only up 2-1.
Utica took the lead in the second period behind goals scored by junior transfer Michelle Witz (Manhattanville College/Pelham, NY) who played the rebound off of Brunet's glove save and scored her eighth goal of the season. Two minutes later the Pioneers would take a 2-1 lead when Utica's Andrea Maxon (North Country Ice Storm/Canton, NY) was able to backhand a shot past Brunet for the score.
Utica advances to the semi-finals of the conference tournament improves their record to 18-8. The Knights finish their season 9-14-3 overall. Coach Kennedy spoke to reporters after the game and said, "This group of student-athletes was very impressive tonight. My hat goes off to the seniors who believed in me and Neumann College. They came to Neumann to help us build a dream and tonight we got closer to it. " Kennedy continued by saying, "We controlled the game for the first 26 minutes. When we played Utica earlier this year we lost our composure and gave up the game early. Tonight we played like I know we can play. We got unlucky on their last goal but we had to take a chance. I am proud of each team member and we will begin preparing for next year when we get back from spring break."
Neumann College Athletics Women's Ice Hockey