Score: No. 3/3 Elmira College 2, No. 5/5 Adrian College 0
Records: Elmira (24-2-2), Adrian (22-6-1)
Location: Murray Athletic Center -- Pine Valley, N.Y.
PINE VALLEY, N.Y. -- A shutout from senior goaltender Kelcey Crawford '18 and a pair of third-period goals lifted the Elmira College women's ice hockey team to a 2-0 victory over Adrian College in the first round of the 2018 NCAA Division III Women's Ice Hockey Championship at the Murray Athletic Center on Saturday afternoon.
The Soaring Eagles, who were defeated in overtime on the road against the same Bulldogs in Adrian, Michigan, in the opening round of last season's NCAA Tournament, advance to the semifinal round and will face Plattsburgh State next Friday, March 16, at 3:30 p.m. The semifinal and final rounds will be hosted by Norwich University at the Kreitzberg Arena in Northfield, Vermont.
For over 53 minutes, the two teams were engaged in an intense, but scoreless, battle. After spending the first period feeling each other out, the pace quickened in the second stanza. In the middle frame alone, EC held a 12-to-11 advantage in shots on goal, this after the Soaring Eagles and Bulldogs combined for only 10 shots on goal in the first period.
The Purple and Gold were buzzing in the offensive zone early in the second, as Elmira fired eight of its 12 shots at Adrian goalie Kate Turner in the first six-and-a-half minutes of the period. A first-year netminder from Houston, Texas, Turner stood tall to the task, and for the majority of the contest, it looked as though she was in position to add to her NCAA-leading shutout total. Turner's doppelganger, Elmira senior Kelcey Crawford '18, ended the second period by making a series of saves to blank the Bulldogs on one of their three power-play chances.
With a 26-save shutout performance against Adrian, Crawford moved into a tie with Turner for the most wins in all of Division III, while equaling the program single-season record for victories held by Allison Cubberley '09 (21). The fourth-year goalie from Purcellville, Virginia, also moved into second-place on Elmira's single-season leaderboard by increasing to save total to 555 on the year.
While Crawford held the fourth-highest scoring offense in the country off of the board on Saturday, the team's leading scorer, Sarah Hughson '18, buried the game-winner into the back of the net with 6:22 remaining in the third period. Hughson's first attempt from the high slot was wide of its mark, but Shannon Strawinski '19 collected the puck to the right of the crease and made an outstanding backhanded pass to Hughson on the doorstep on the goal. The fourth-year forward from East Haddam, Connecticut, tipped the puck past Turner stick-side as the Adrian goalie attempt to slide to her right to cover the far post.
Looking to force overtime, the Bulldogs pulled their goalie in favor of an extra skater in the final minute of regulation. Crawford made a trio of saves before finally smothering the puck with 29.8 seconds remaining. After the ensuing faceoff, Granato was able to poke the puck out of the Elmira zone. Maddie Evangelous '19 beat the Bulldogs to the loose puck in the neutral zone and went the length of the ice to record the empty-netter.
In Their Own Words…
Head Coach Tim Crowley on Elmira's quarterfinal victory over Adrian…
"It was an unbelievable game, much like our NCAA game against them last year. It was, I thought, back and forth and as a spectator, it must have been a tremendous game to watch. Credit to Adrian, they had a really great season. We were just fortunate enough to come out on top today. We had incredible goaltending from Kelcey (Crawford) and when we needed to make a play in the third period we did. We're excited about next weekend."
News and Notes…
- Elmira advances to the NCAA Division III semifinal round for the 10th time in the program's 17-year history and the first time since 2015-16.
- The Soaring Eagles are now 3-3 all-time against Adrian after sweeping both matchups against the Bulldogs this season.
- With a 24-2-2 overall record, EC's 24 wins are tied for second-most in a season in team history.
- The Soaring Eagles are 4-1-1 against nationally-ranked teams this year.
- EC's unbeaten streak was extended to 15 consecutive games (13-0-2).
- With 47 points in her senior campaign, Hughson (27g-20a) moved into a three-way tie for eighth place in team history with Laura Hurd '05 and Kayla Coady '09.
- With an assist on Hughson's goal, Louisa Lippiatt Durnell '18 became just the 12th Soaring Eagle to join the illustrious 100-Point Club.
The EC women, ranked No. 3 in the latest edition of the U.S. College Hockey Online (USCHO) and D3hockey.com national polls, will take on the Cardinals of No. 2/2 Plattsburgh State on Friday, March 16, in the semifinal round of the 2018 NCAA Division III Women's Ice Hockey Championship. The game will be held at Norwich University's Kreitzberg Arena at 3:30 p.m.