The Sacred Heart University women’s hockey team won the inaugural New England Women’s Hockey Alliance (NEWHA) Championship game 3-1 over top-seeded Saint Anselm Feb. 25 at Sullivan Arena.
Third-seeded Sacred Heart (27-6-2) led 2-0 after two periods on goals by senior forward Taylor Moreland and Lexi Edwards, but Saint Anselm (21-4-4) halved its deficit near the midway point of the third with a goal. With the Hawks pushing for a tying goal, Olivia Bryant tossed the puck the length of the ice into an empty net with 1:24 left to seal the win for the Pioneers.
Following the game, SHU’s Sarah Erban was named the Most Outstanding Player after allowing just two goals on 60 shots faced over two games, including 32 in the championship game. Moreland, Erban, Jayne Lewis and Olivia Bryant were named to the All-Tournament team, along with two Saint Anselm players.
An entertaining first period saw SHU outshoot Saint Anselm 15-4, while the latter totaled four penalties. Moreland took advantage of SHU’s second power play to open the scoring at the 5:58 mark and give the Pioneers the lead, assisted by Lewis and Bryant. Moreland’s 30th goal of the season leads the NEWHA in points and is sixth overall in the nation.
The Pioneers extended their lead at the 14:53 mark in the second period through Edwards, assisted by Maddie Bishop. It was the freshman’s seventh goal of the season, to give the Pioneers a 2-0 lead going into the third period.
Saint Anselm rallied in the third period, outshooting SHU 17-4, and responded at the 8:27 mark of the third period with a shot that brought the Hawks to within one goal.
With Saint Anselm’s net empty for a 6-on-4 situation, Moreland won a defensive-zone faceoff for the Pioneers back to Bryant, who sealed the victory for Sacred Heart with her goal from across the ice.
The Pioneers’ 27 victories is a record for the program.