Seahawks battle reigning national champions to 1-1 draw

Simmons made 56 saves in net for the Seahawks
Simmons made 56 saves in net for the Seahawks

MIDDLETOWN, R.I. – Senior goaltender Rebecca Simmons (Averill Park, N.Y.) made 56 saves to help the Salve Regina University women's ice hockey team battle the defending Division III National Champions of Norwich University to a 1-1 tie at St. George's Ice Rink on Saturday night. The tie moves the Seahawks to 3-3-1 (3-3-1 ECAC), while the Cadets go to 7-1-1 overall and 6-0-1 during Eastern College Athletic Conference Women's East play.

Junior Rachel Porter (Franklin, Mass.) scored the lone goal for the Seahawks, while freshman Michaela Chiuccariello (Winchester, Mass.) earned an assist in the tie. Simmons was brilliant in between the pipes all night for the Seahawks, facing 57 shots on net while allowing just one goal to move to 2-2-1 on the year.

Senior Julie Fortier (Saint-Malachie, Que.) found the back of the net on one of her seven shots for the Cadets, while both senior Amanda Wilks (Winnipeg, Man.) and junior Jillayne DeBus (Howell, Mich.) each delivered eight shots on goal. Sophomore Joanie Plamondon (Pont-Rouge, Que.) earned the tie in net for the Cadets, making seven saves to move to 3-1-1 on the season.

The two teams skated to a scoreless opening period, with the Cadets outshooting the Seahawks by a decisive 13-2 margin.

However, the Seahawks made the most of their opportunities and jumped on the board first with a goal by Porter in the opening minute of the second period. Porter intercepted a pass in the Norwich zone and fired a shot on net. Chiuccariello tipped the rebound back to Porter who beat the Norwich goalie to give the Seahawks a 1-0 lead.

Simmons stood tall in goal, making 20 saves during the second period alone, sending the Seahawks into the third frame still holding onto a one-goal advantage.

The Cadets finally managed to get the puck past Simmons midway through the third period when Fortier circled around the back of the net and then went top shelf with a wrister into the upper right corner to tie the score at 1-all.

The Seahawks held the Cadets scoreless the rest of the way, killing off Norwich power plays in both the third period and in overtime, to skate away with the tie.

The Cadets return to the ice on Sunday, completing a four-game road trip with a 3 p.m. contest at Holy Cross, while the Seahawks begin non-conference action next Friday when they host Bowdoin at 7 p.m.