Powered by a hat trick from forward Aly Zappen (Huntington Beach, Calif.), the No. 2-ranked Saint Anselm College women's ice hockey team won the fourth ECAC Women's Open Championship in program history, posting a 7-3 victory over the No. 1-ranked Crusaders of the College of the Holy Cross Sunday afternoon at Thomas F. Sullivan Arena. The Hawks conclude their regular season with 20 wins for the second-straight season, accumulating an overall record of 20-6-1 through 27 games. The Crusaders see their season come to a close with a 19-4-3 overall mark through 26 contests.
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Saint Anselm earned the fourth ECAC Women's Open championship in program history Sunday and the team's first title under fourth-year Head Coach Kerstin Matthews. The victory snaps a two-game losing skid to the Crusaders in the championship game, having lost to Holy Cross twice in the previous two tournaments. Forward Rosemarie Giarrusso (Royal Palm Beach, Fla.) earned Most Outstanding Player honors by scoring a combined two goals and three assists for five points (2-3=5) through two games, including the game-winning goal tonight.
Giarrusso's second game-winning goal of the ECAC Women's Open came at 3:08 of the third period, placing Saint Anselm ahead by a 4-3 margin. Skating from left to right around the Holy Cross goal, forward Kathryn Picarello (West Roxbury, Mass.) backhanded a pass toward the slot where Giarrusso, fresh off the bench, fired a shot that eluded the grasp of Crusaders goaltender Alexandra Stevenson for the strike, her 15th goal of the season.
Crusaders captain Stacey Hochkins scored her 28th goal of the season to open up the game's scoring at 2:12 of the first period. Picking up a loose puck in the neutral zone that was left by forward Caroline English, Hochkins used her speed up the right wing to elude a Hawks defenseman. Skating in on Hawks goaltender Amy Zappen (Huntington Beach, Calif.), Hochkins triple-deked Zappen and placed the puck behind her for the first goal of the game.
Forward Rebecca O'Quinn scored the Crusaders second goal of the game at 5:50 of the first period, extending the early Holy Cross lead to 2-0. In similar fashion to the Hochkins strike, defenseman Jessica Frascotti one-touched a puck forwad to a streaking O'Quinn. Breaking in all alone on Zappen, O'Quinn placed the puck around the sprawling goaltender for the score.
With defenseman Meaghan Sullivan in the box for a tripping infraction, Aly Zappen scored her first goal of the game at 19:11 of the first period, halving the Crusaders advantage. Following an offensive zone face-off win, Zappen forced the puck out of the right wing corner to defenseman Jacqueline Bouchie (Belmont, Mass.), positioned at the right point. A quick pass over to defensive partner Molly Corl (Georgetown, Mass.) was sent over to the right post where a crashing Zappen established her position and tapped the puck past Stevenson for the score.
With Aly Zappen penalized for goaltender interference, senior forward Nicola Garat tallied her 14th goal of the season at 1:29 of the second period, elevating the Crusaders to a 3-1 score. A Crusaders player fired a shot wide from the right point that was gathered in the right wing corner by English. A quick pass toward the right post was forced home by Garat for the final Holy Cross strike of the afternoon.
Corl would add a power play tally of her own at 9:22 of the second period, cutting into the Saint Anselm deficit near the midpoint of the second period. With English in the penalty box to serve a slashing penalty, Giarrusso would gain possession of the puck behind the Crusaders cage. A quick pass toward a streaking Bouchie was placed on net. The ensuing rebound spilled out near the left post where Corl was positioned for the goal.
Forward Courtney Winters (Swampscott, Mass.) would knot the game at three apiece with her 19th goal of the season at 14:14 of the second period. Giarrusso and Picarello entered the zone on a 3-on-1 breakout with Winters flanking the right wing for Saint Anselm. Giarrusso, entering the zone with the puck up the left wing boards, sent a pass over to Picarello in the slot. Delaying the pass, the puck was sent to Winters near the right face-off dot and blasted home for the game-tying goal.
Following Giarrusso's game-winning goal, Zappen scored her seventh goal of the season at 9:21 of the third period. With the Crusaders on a power play, a pass back to the right point was picked off by Zappen. Carrying the puck across all three zones, Zappen broke in on Stevenson unopposed and wristed a shot that eluded the grasp of the Holy Cross goaltender to place Saint Anselm up by two goals near the midpoint of the third stanza.
Forward Tiffany Herron (Clinton Township, Mich.) recorded an empty net goal at 19:38 of the third period, adding extra insurance for Saint Anselm en route to the victory. A Holy Cross player upended Picarello near the right wing boards, but she was able to force the puck forward to Herron near the right wing corner. A simple wrist shot into the vacated Crusaders net was Herron's 16th goal of the season.
Zappen was able to convert the second hat trick of her career at 19:56 of the third period to secure a 7-3 victory for Saint Anselm. Corl, at the left point, sent a feed over to her right where it was fired on goal by defenseman Angela Zevnik (Greenfield, Wisc.). The juicy rebound spilled out to Stevenson's right where a crashing Zappen tapped the puck into the empty left side of the net for her eighth goal of the season.
With Corl's assist on the final Saint Anselm goal of the game, she now holds top placement on the program leaderboard in assists, surpassing former Hawks defenseman Cindy Lebel with the 53rd helper of her four-year career. Corl ends her tenure on the Hilltop with 74 career points (21-53=74), placing her sixth all-time in program history in point scoring.
For Saint Anselm, Zappen (17-6-1) earned her 17th victory of the year by turning aside 17-of-20 shots on goal. Stevenson (6-2-1) drew only her second loss of the year, allowing six goals on 28 shots on net.
Saint Anselm was 3-for-5 on the power play. Holy Cross was 1-for-7 with the extra skater.
In a post-game ceremony, the 2012 ECAC Women's Open All-Tournament team was announced with the following six players named to the squad:
- G – Erin Stevens – Saint Michael's College (2.53 GAA, .939 SV, 77 saves)
- D – Molly Corl – Saint Anselm College (2-2=4)
- D – Nicole Palazzo – Sacred Heart University (2-0=2)
- F – Stacey Hochkins – College of the Holy Cross (2-1=3)
- F – Caroline English – College of the Holy Cross (1-2=3)
- F – Rosemarie Giarrusso – Saint Anselm College (2-3=5, 2 GWG)
- Most Outstanding Player – Rosemarie Giarrusso – Saint Anselm College
NOTABLES: With the victory, Saint Anselm captures their fourth ECAC Women's Open Championship in the program's eight year history…The Hawks have won the tournament during the 2004-05 season, the 2006-07 season and the 2007-08 season, with all three victories piloted by former Head Coach David Flint, who is now piloting the Northeastern University women's ice hockey program…Saint Anselm last defeated Holy Cross in the championship game on Feb. 27, 2005, claiming victory by a 4-2 margin for their first ECAC Women's Open title…Forward Courtney Winters concludes her sophomore season riding a five-game point streak, scoring five goals and three assists for eight points (5-3=8) across that span…Forward Aly Zappen recorded the second hat trick of her career this evening…Forward Kathryn Picarello recorded four assists in this evening's game, marking only the third time a player in Saint Anselm history has accomplished that feat – Corl tallied four assists against Plymouth State on Feb. 7, 2009 and Kristen Byrne contributed four helpers against Southern Maine on Jan. 14, 2011…In the final nine games of her career, Hawks goaltender Amy Zappen accumulated a 8-0-1 record alongside an 0.77 goals-against average and a .951 save percentage.