BEACONS FALL TO MIDDLEBURY IN NCAA TOURNAMENT
Story and photo courtesy of UMass Boston Athletics
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MIDDLEBURY, Vt. –The most successful women's ice hockey team in UMass Boston history, saw their historic season come to an end at the hands of No. 3/4 Middlebury College as the Panthers defeated the Beacons by the final of 4-0 at Kenyon Arena in the first round of the 2016 NCAA Division III Tournament.

THE BASICS

UMass Boston 0, Middlebury College 4
UMass Boston (16-13-0)
Middlebury College (21-4-3)

HOW IT HAPPENED

After surrendering just one goal through the first 40 minutes of play, the Panthers got a pair of goals in the first 3:42 of the third frame to blow open what was a very competitive contest. The Beacons eager to prove all the naysayers wrong, stepped up to the challenge as they made their first-ever National Tournament appearance. Showing no signs of intimidation even for a second, the Beacons went toe-to-toe with the Panthers in the first period. Led by senior Alexandra Karlis (Denver, Colo.) the Beacons had their chances to break the scoreless draw midway through the opening period.

The Beacons defense also held strong, with sophomore netminder Rachel Myette (Pembroke, Mass.) proving to be a wall, as she turned away 12 Middlebury shots.

After the first intermission, the Beacons picked-up their play even more, as they looked like the team that would not be denied. Fresh off of their amazing run in the New England Hockey Conference Tournament, which earned them the program's first conference crown, UMass exchanged shots with the Panthers.

Unfortunately Middlebury drew first blood as they took advantage of a power-play opportunity around the midway point of the period. Maddie Winslow put her team out in front as she was able fire home the puck at the 12:29 mark. Now down by one on the board, the Beacons did not let up. They continued to battle, and continued to produce chance after chance, but were unable to get the puck home to even the score at 1-1.

With one more period left to decide their faith, everyone was expecting a battle from start to finish. However, the Beacons got off to a slow start in the third, which Middlebury capitalized on immediately. The two goals put all the momentum in the Panthers corner, and with their fourth goal coming with less than eight minutes to play in the contest, the Beacons dreams of moving on were quickly becoming out of reach.

However despite the outcome, the Beacons knew that they had accomplished something special this season. When UMass Boston looks back at this season, they will see a group of athletes that literally showed a togetherness unlike any other team in history. They came together and with all the odds stacked up against them, proved to the world that they were not going to lie down for anyone. They fought with every inch of their being from start to finish, and because of that true no quit mentality, and a resiliency not seen these days by most teams, the Beacons know they can keep their heads held high because no one will ever take away the fact that these players are Champions in every sense of the word, and now they have the hardware to prove it.

BY THE NUMBERS

- The Beacons close out the year with 16 victories, which stands as the second-most in program history

- UMass Boston made their first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance on Saturday, and ended the year as the first-ever New England Hockey Conference Tournament champions

- Rachel Myette ended the season with a 1.67 goals against average, which ranks second in program history, while her .938 save percentage ties the single season record.

- Saturday's contest marked the final in the careers of Karlis, Alexa Cappione (Massena, N.Y.), Alexandrea Kreuser (Boston, Mass.), and Jenny Currie (Chelmsford, Mass.)