GORHAM, Maine – The Saint Anselm College women's hockey team clinched its first regular season conference championship since 2007-08 by winning the New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) title with a 6-0 victory at the University of Southern Maine on Saturday afternoon at the USM Ice Arena.
Saint Anselm (20-2-3, 15-1-1 NEHC) scored four times in the first period and cruised to the six-goal victory over Southern Maine (6-18-1, 4-12-1 NEHC) to finish with 31 points in the regular season, one more than Norwich University. The win also stretched the Hawks' unbeaten streak to 12 games to close out the regular season.
The regular season championship was the third in program history for Saint Anselm, in addition to back-to-back ECAC East regular season titles in 2006-07 and 2007-08. Saint Anselm will be the top seed in the NEHC Open next weekend at Sacred Heart University.
After a hat trick at Holy Cross on Thursday, Kaitlyn Spillane tallied two goals and one assist to give her 23 points over the last 12 games. Sara McNamara and Maura Kieft, who extended her point streak to 13-straight games, each had a goal and an assist, while Meaghan Spurling had a pair of helpers.
Alison Butler recorded an assist on Jackie Guy's third-period goal to become the seventh player in program history to record 100 career points. The assist also was the senior's 27th of the season, giving Butler the single-season program record, breaking a tie with Tiffany Herron (2012-13).
Saint Anselm exploded for three goals in the opening 6:28 to take command early. McNamara redirected a Martha Findley shot past USM rookie goaltender Whitney Padgett just 21 seconds into the game. Kieft netted a power-play goal off assists from McNamara and Spillane at 3:02 to make it 2-0 and Spillane scored her first of the game at 6:28 to force an early USM timeout.
Out of the timeout, the Huskies made a change in goal and Courtney Davis stopped 9-of-10 shots in the remainder of the first period. Freshman Kaley Campbell's goal at 18:03 of the first gave the Hawks a comfortable 4-0 lead after 20 minutes, with Savanna Poole and Amanda Conger earning assists on Campbell's fifth of the season.
Davis made 23 saves in the second and 14 more in the third as Saint Anselm outshot Southern Maine 57-7 in the game. Spillane's second of the game came at 11:48 of the second and Guy capped the scoring at 16:38 of the third with her second goal in four games.
Maddie Scavotto had just seven saves to make in the game to record her sixth shutout of the season and move to 15-1-2.
In the semifinals of the NEHC Open, Saint Anselm will face the lowest advancing seed following the play-in game between third-seeded Franklin Pierce University and fifth-seeded Saint Michael's College, which will be played on Wednesday, Feb. 22 at 8 p.m.. Host and fourth-seeded Sacred Heart University received a bye into the semifinals by virtue of being the tournament host. The Hawks' semifinal will be at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 25 and will be followed by second-seeded Holy Cross against the highest advancing seed.
Stay up-to-date with the latest news, including game previews and recaps, directly from the Saint Anselm College athletic department by liking us on Facebook and following us on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat @STAHawks.