PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Junior Kelsey Roy (Ft. Collins, Colo.) scored a pair of goals as Plymouth State University erased a two-goal deficit to earn a 3-2 win over Salve Regina University in a New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) women's ice hockey game on Senior Day at Hanaway Rink on Saturday afternoon.
With the win the Panthers improve to 8-13-4 (7-5-2 NEHC) and have locked up home ice for the opening round of the NEHC Tournament next Saturday. It will be PSU's first home playoff game in program history. Salve Regina falls to 4-20-1 (3-11-0 NEHC).
Plymouth State got off to a slow start following a ceremony to recognize the six Panther seniors appearing in the final regular season home game of their careers; Shannon Hickey (Arlington, Mass.), Courtney Evans (Fairbanks, Alaska), Alivia Bates (Pennsauken, N.J.), Jaime Carpenter (Jardenville, N.B.), Mariah Trupp (Topeka, Kansas) and Taylor Shrode (Craig, Colo.).
The Seahawks opened the scoring midway through the first period when junior Taylor Chisholm (Discovery Bay, Calif.) put home the rebound off her own shot at the 9:48 mark. Salve doubled its lead at the end of the period, taking advantage of the third PSU penalty in the opening twenty minutes. With the Seahawks keeping pressure in the offensive zone, the puck rebounded off the end boards to senior Megan Geier (Charleston, S.C.) in front of the goal. Geier ripped a shot to the back door to put the visitors ahead 2-0.
The Panther offense kicked into a new gear in the second period. After being outshot 13-8 in the first, the Panthers fired 18 shots on goal in the second. Roy got the PSU comeback started late in the period. Plymouth applied heavy pressure in front of the Salve goal and Roy blasted home a loose puck in the crease to put Plymouth State on the board with 5:08 remaining in the period.
Plymouth went on an extended power play early in the third period. Just as the Seahawks finished killing a minor penalty they were whistled for interference, but the Panthers were unable to capitalize. PSU kept firing, though, and Roy evened the score at the 10:43 mark when her wrap-around attempt went off the skate of the SRU goalie and into the net.
Sophomore Sydney Linnick (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) potted the game-winner just 79 seconds later. She took a loose puck from the right circle and, as she skated toward the goal, she got tripped up with another skater. As she was falling to her knees, Linnick fired a wrister high to the stick side to give the Panthers their first lead of the game.
Salve had an opportunity to even the game late in the third when PSU was whistled for a tripping penalty at the 17:35 mark. The visitors pulled the goalie to go on a 6-on-4, but junior Emelie Lindqvist (Gulleråsen, Sweden) made multiple saves to hold on. PSU almost had an empty-netter in the final minute, but a Salve defender blocked the shot which led to a breakaway opportunity for the Seahawks. Sophomore Amanda Fantasia (Billerica, Mass.) skated in alone, but Lindqvist corralled her blast with just three seconds left and PSU controlled the ensuing faceoff to run out the clock.
Trupp got the start in goal for the Panthers, making 13 saves, while Lindqvist turned aside 13 shots over the final 40 minutes to earn the win and improve to 6-8-4. Junior Jennifer O'Connell (Marstons Mills, Mass.) made 35 stops for the Seahawks but fell to 3-19-1.
The Panthers will earn either the third or fourth seed, dependent upon the outcome of other NEHC games later tonight. Either way, PSU will host a playoff game next Saturday (Feb. 17) at 7:00 p.m. at Hanaway Rink. Salve Regina will finish as the seventh seed and will travel to #2 University of Massachusetts Boston next Saturday.