WORCESTER, Mass. – The Holy Cross women's ice hockey team hosted its annual "Pink the Rink" night to promote breast cancer awareness on Friday evening and skated away with a 5-0 victory over Nichols at the Hart Center. Junior Nicole Giannino (Bay Shore, N.Y.) led the way for the Crusaders with two goals as Holy Cross improves to 16-7-1 and 10-4-1 in ECAC East action while the Bison drop to 4-20-0 (2-13-0 ECAC East).
Giannino's first goal came 7:10 into the first period as she sliced through center ice with puck possession and made a nice move to get Bison goaltender Francesca Palazzo moving to her left before sliding the puck across the goal line on the keeper's stick side. With just 1:20 remaining in the frame, Giannino received a pass from junior Madison Schneider (Fort Myers, Fla.) right in front of the goal and beat Palazzo top shelf to give the Crusaders a 2-0 advantage at the end of one. The goals were Giannino's 11th and 12th tallies of the season. Senior Devon Ball (Burlington, Ontario) was also credited with an assist on the first score.
The Crusaders stayed on the offensive attack in the second period, posting three more goals. Junior Francesca Panarelli (Shrewsbury, Mass.) scored on a power play for her first goal of the season as she ripped a slap shot from just inside the blue line with 11:32 remaining in the frame. Senior Kylee Sullivan (Arlington, Mass.) registered her seventh goal of the year on a rebound in front with 8:03 showing on the clock and junior Kate Reilly (Natick, Mass.) made the score 5-0 with 1:50 remaining in the stanza with her second goal of the season.
The Bison's best scoring chance came early in the third period as Jordan Fencl intercepted a Holy Cross pass right at the left face-off dot and fired a shot uncontested, but junior goaltender Alexandra Stevenson (Norwood, N.Y.) made the stop to keep her shutout alive. Neither team was able to light the lamp in the final period as the Crusader came away with a 5-0 victory.
Holy Cross went one-for-one on the power play while the Bison could not take advantage of their two opportunities with an extra skater. Stevenson saved all 11 shots she faced and earned her third shutout of the season. She now stands at 9-3-1 on the year. Palazzo let up five goals in two periods while making 23 saves and is now 2-9-0. Tori Gianformaggio came on for the final frame and made six saves. The Crusaders outshot the Bison by a tally of 34-11 and held a slight edge in the face-off dot, 33-29
The women's ice hockey team will play its final regular season game tomorrow afternoon at 1:00 p.m. at the Hart Center against Manhattanville. Prior to the game, head coach Peter Van Buskirk and assistant coach Jacob Anderson will recognize Ball, Kylee Sullivan and fellow seniors Amanda Gallagher (Park Ridge, Ill.) and Emily Sullivan (Arlington, Mass.) as well as senior team manager Tory Bratton in a brief ceremony for their hard work and dedication to the program over the past four years.