Mass. College Hockey: Murphy Lifts Nichols Past UNE, 2-1

By NoontimeSports.com 

Courtesy of the Nichols College sports information department, here’s this evening’s release about the women’s hockey team, which received a go-ahead goal from Grace Murphy to seal a 2-1 win over University of New England:

HARRISVILLE, R.I. –Junior Grace Murphy (Montclair, Va.) scored her team-leading sixth and seventh goals of the season goal to lift the Nichols College women’s ice hockey team a 2-1 win over the University of New England in non-conference action Tuesday night at Levy Rink.

Junior Tori Gianformaggio (Huntington Beach, Calif.) recorded 26 saves to earn her second win of the season as the Bison moved to 3-8-0 on the season and 2-0-0 all-time against UNE. Juniors Talia Hohmann (Marian, Calif.) and Amber Aaskov (Falmouth, Mass.) picked up assists on Murphy’s marker 6:13 into the first period while classmate Bridget Griffin (North Billerica, Mass.) assisted on her second tally, which held up as the game-winner.

Freshman Gabby Crugnale (Malden, Mass.) potted her fifth goal of the season late in the third period for the Nor’easters (5-5-3), who received 25 saves from freshman goalie Sydney Helmbrecht (Grand Rapids, Mich.).

“This was a big win for us,” said Nichols first-year Bison head coach Wil Brown. “It was good to be home in our familiar surroundings, in our locker room. We put forth a solid effort both physically and mentally, and when we do that, we can compete with anyone.”

On the first Nichols goal, Aaskov slid the puck over the Hohmann, who let go of a shot from the left circle that was stopped by Helmbrecht. Murphy pounced on the rebound and poked it into the net. The period closed with UNE holding a 9-6 edge in shots.

Nichols had a pair of solid scoring chances in the second period, but could not pad its lead. Junior Alyssa Bufis (Linden, N.J.) took a pass form the right side and one-timed a shot from in close that Helmbrecht got a pad on. Seven minutes later, Murphy toe-dragged around a defender and walked in alone on Helmbrecht, but her shot targeted for the top right corner was snared by Helmbrecht’s glove.

In the third, Murphy made good on her second breakaway opportunity of the night. The dangle she put on the UNE defenseman was identical to the one she pulled out in the second period, but this time, Murphy went five-hole to beat Helmbrecht 9:11 into the period.

“She pulled out that toe drag in practice yesterday, and she got all of the shot in the second period,” said Brown. “Their goalie made a great glove save on the first one. On the second one, she pulled it back and went five-hole. Changing up the shot the second time around always makes a difference. It was another great play from one of the great players in our conference.”

The Nor’easters finally solved Gianformaggio with 4:16 remaining in regulation to cut their deficit in half. Freshman Gabriella Moscat (Wakefield, Mass.) fired of a shot from the top of the circle that Gianformaggio stopped through a screen, but Crugnale collected the rebound and got off a shot that bounced over Gianformaggio and just over the goal line.

Each team finished the contest with 27 shots. UNE went 0-for-5 with the extra attacker while the Bison were 0-for-3.

The Bison return to action on January 18 when they host Holy Cross at 7:40 p.m. UNE plays at Castleton Friday at 4 p.m. in the Rutland Herald Invitational.

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