Elmira Knocks Off Bowdoin in NCAA Women's Hockey Quarterfinals

Photo courtesy of Michele Stapleton
Photo courtesy of Michele Stapleton

BRUNSWICK, Maine - Lauren Sullivan made 37 saves in her tenth shutout of the season to lead the Elmira College women's ice hockey team to a 4-0 win over Bowdoin in the NCAA Quarterfinals Saturday night at Watson Arena.

The Soaring Eagles (22-5-1) advance to the NCAA semifinals next week in Superior, Wis. where they will face Gustavus Adolphus on Friday. The Polar Bears end a fantastic season with a mark of 21-5-2, recording the most wins in a season for the program since 2003 and earning the team's first NESCAC Championship since 2004.

Despite Bowdoin owning a 13-5 shot advantage during the opening period of play, Elmira applied significant offensive pressure during the final ten minutes, resulting in several strong scoring opportunities. With 7:42 remaining, Taylor Steadman hit the post after Bowdoin goalie Kayla Lessard caught a piece of the puck, redirecting it.  Four minutes later Steadman pulled Lessard to the right post before dumping a pass to Ashton Hogan on the left. Hogan's shot sailed wide of the net.  With just 1:16 remaining in the first, Erin Weston notched Elmira's first goal of the contest. Ashley Ryan pulled the puck out of Bowdoin's right corner and connected with Weston as she skated into the low slot and flipped a backhand over Lessard's glove.

Elmira doubled its lead just 3:43 into the second period.  Brooke Wilgosh ripped a shot from the top of the right circle past Lessard's glove to go ahead 2-0. The Soaring Eagles had the opportunity to go up 3-0 but were spoiled by a point blank save by Lessard. Steadman skated into a 1-on-1 on Bowdoin's net and wristed a shot from just outside the crease, but Lessard was able to block and cover the puck. Bowdoin looked to get on the board with 6:23 remaining in the period when Madeline Lane hit the crossbar with a slapshot from the point.

The Soaring Eagles opened the final period with their third goal of the game 3:33 in. Samantha Curk sent a long pass from the top of the right circle to the opposite post where Madison Johnston one-timed the puck to the same side of the net. With 12:07 remaining on the clock Lessard denied Elmira a fourth goal with a split save at the right post.

Bowdoin had 1:22 5-on-3 advantage following a pair of Elmira penalties. The Polar Bears pulled their goal to pressure the Soaring Eagle defense with six players, but were unable to convert. Elmira sealed the win with 2:09 remaining on the clock. Ryan sat on the right post where she received a quick pass from Cassidy Delainey just beyond the crease.

Lessard made a vailiant effort in goal with 21 saves for the Polar Bears. Bowdoin was 0-for-5 on the power play for the night while the Eagles went 1-3.