BURRILLVILLE, R.I. – The Manhattanville College women’s ice hockey team started off the 2015-16 campaign with a bang, taking the season opener 6-1 over Nichols College in its inaugural New England Hockey Conference contest on Friday night at Levy Rink.
The Valiants (1-0 overall, 1-0 NEHC) controlled the tempo of the game with high offensive pressure and stellar defensive play, limiting the Bison (0-3 overall, 0-1 NEHC) to just six shots on goal for the night.
The sophomore line of Cassandra Kent (Lake Placid, NY/Northwood), Jennifer Machin (Brunswick, ME/North Yarmouth Academy) and Melissa Stys (Pequannock, N.J./Kent School) proved to be very formidable for Manhattanville on the night, combining for four goals and four assists. Kent led the way with four points, scoring once with three assists in addition to an excellent +6 rating. Machin scored twice and Stys added two points as well, while junior Taryn Harris (Morrison, Colo./Colorado Selects) also scored twice for the visitors in the win.
Manhattanville had several opportunities in the first period, recording 13 shots on goal, but were unable to find the back of the net until the 18:56 mark of the period when Machin beat Lindsay O’Connell for her first goal of the season. The Valiants struck again just 27 seconds later when Kent took a pass from classmate Maeve O’Brien (Chicago, Ill./Loyola Academy) and buried the shot to make it a two-goal advantage headed into the first intermission.
The Valiants continued to roll in the second period, extending the lead to three eight minutes in when Harris scored her first of the season. Manhattanville once again tacked on an additional goal quickly, scoring just 15 seconds later when Kent found Machin for her second goal of the game.
Manhattanville proved to be consistent in all three periods, tacking on another two goals in the final period, on a shorthanded goal from Harris and a final tally from Stys.
The Valiants were very efficient in the faceoff circle, with sophomore Sarah Sinning (Southold, NY/National Sports Academy) winning 8 of 12 faceoffs and Stys winning 11 of 16 puck drops.
Junior goaltender Olivia Drew (York, Maine/Portland Jr. Pirates) was impressive in her season debut, making five saves on six shots, allowing just one Bison goal in the final period to earn her first win of the year.
The Valiants return to action tomorrow night, when they travel to the College of the Holy Cross for another New England Hockey Conference matchup to open the season. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. at the Hart Recreation Center.