BEVERLY, Mass. – The Morrisville State College women's hockey team posted two goals in each the second and third periods Saturday afternoon to earn the 4-2 semifinal win over SUNY Canton and an opportunity to play for the Colonial Hockey Conference (CHC) Championship title against top seeded Endicott.
The Mustangs, who will be making their first appearance in the Championship Final, will face-off against the tournament hosts tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. on the Gulls home ice, located in Beverly, Massachusetts.
Canton took a 1-0 first period lead at the 15:19 mark after Margret Troiano slipped the puck past Morrisville State netminder Renee Schmaltz (Beaumont, AB), carrying the one goal advantage into the first intermission.
Less than a minute after play resumed in the second, freshman Vanessa Klimpke (Winnipeg, MB) posted the equalizer for the Mustangs, lifting the puck over the pads of Canton goaltender Brooke Susac just 57 seconds into the second period. Ciara Lark (Mildmay, ON) picked up the assist after pushing the puck forward into the neutral zone to a waiting Klimpke.
Defenseman Kaitlyn Schlake (Nampa, ID) gave the Mustangs their first lead of the afternoon at the 13:16 mark, sending the rifled shot towards the net and off the pads of Susac inside the left post for the go ahead tally. Maddison Devlin (Campbell River, BC) and Kanekaroroks McComber (Kahnawake, QE) were credited with the assists.
Canton tested the Mustangs in the closing minutes of the second, but Schmaltz was able to keep the Roos at bay, sending the game into the second break with a 2-1 Morrisville State lead.
Klimpke struck again early on for the Mustangs in the third period, poking her second score of the afternoon inside the left post just 1:30 into the final stanza for the 3-1 advantage and two goal cushion.
Renee Stevenson (Winnipeg, MB) picked up her 20th assist of the year, sending the puck towards the net for Klimpke to deflect.
Troiano gave Canton some life down the stretch with a score at 15:54 off the scramble in front of Schmaltz, but that's as close as they would get as the sophomore netminder put up a wall for the remainder of the period for the Mustangs.
The Roos pulled Susac for the extra skater with 1:19 to go in the contest, and despite persistent play within their offensive zone, an intercepted pass by McComber, tipped to Schlake resulted in an empty net score with eight seconds remaining to seal the win for the Mustangs and advance them to the championship final for the first time in program history.
Klimpke and Schlake each finished with two goals, while McComber finished with two assists.
Schmaltz collected her 19th win of the season behind a 41 save performance that included 10 stops in the final period.
Susac finished with 25 saves for the Roos, who conclude the season 14-11-2.
Endicott advanced to the final after a 4-2 defeat against Stevenson University in the first semifinal of the day, a rematch of last year's championship contest.
The Gulls and Mustangs will meet for a third time this season, splitting the regular season action in early February on the Mustangs home ice. Morrisville State defeated Endicott 2-0 Friday night, before the Gulls rebounded on Saturday for the 3-2 comeback win.
Tomorrow's title will be the first for either program, after Stevenson claimed the league's first title in an overtime victory just a year ago over Endicott.
Morrisville State College's curricula are enriched with applied learning and pave the way for opportunity at both the Morrisville and Norwich campuses. An action-oriented, interactive learning lab, the college is a national leader in technology and has been lauded for its exemplary, innovative and effective community service programs.
The college was ranked among the Best Regional Colleges in the North by U.S. News and World Report Best Colleges 2016 issue and was also recognized in the Top Public Schools, Regional Colleges North in the 2016 Best Colleges rankings. For more information about Morrisville State College, visit www.morrisville.edu.