Mustangs Down Manhattanville, 4-3, Punch Ticket to UCHC Semifinals

REISTERSTOWN, Md. - Highlighted by a pair of goals from senior Monica Pozuc and the game-winning goal by junior Allie Sabatini, the third-seeded Stevenson women's ice hockey team held on for a 4-3 victory over sixth-seeded Manhattanville in the United Collegiate Hockey Conference (UCHC) Quarterfinals Saturday afternoon at Reisterstown Sportsplex.

With the win, the Mustangs (14-7-5) advance to the UCHC Semifinals and will face second-seeded William Smith on Saturday, March 3 at Elmira beginning at 7:00 p.m. Stevenson also extends its unbeaten streak to 15 games and improves to 7-2-3 at home this season. The Mustangs are also unbeaten in the last four games versus Manhattanville and now leads the series, 3-2-1.

Pozuc put the hosts on the board just 5:29 into the contest on assists from senior Chelsea Blackburn and junior Cierra Siemasko. Siemasko played the puck up along the boards in the neutral zone to Pozuc who sent a centering pass to Blackburn. Blakcburn's shot was saved by Rose Pijaca but Pozuc was there on the back post to clean up the rebound.

The assist by Blackburn, her 19th of the season, sets a new single season program record, which Pozuc tied a season ago.

Stevenson took a 2-0 advantage with 4:06 remaining in the opening period as Blackburn took a pass from senior Sarah Antonelli in the neutral zone and skated in beating the Manhattanville defense and Pijaca over her glove side. It was the 19th goal of the season for Blackburn, which puts her in a tie for third in a single season with her sophomore total. Blackburn holds the top four spots with goals in a single season.

With 38.4 seconds before intermission, Sarah Sinning blasted a shot from the blue line that got past junior Caitie Darosa to get the Valiants (9-14-3) on the board. Sinning then tied the game 6:54 into the second period with her second goal of the night for the only score in the middle frame.

On the third power play attempt for the Mustangs, the team found the back of the net as freshman Abigail Shows fired a pass across the ice to Pozuc who got a second one past Pijaca. The power play goal snaps a two-game drought for Stevenson, who still has a power play goal in seven of its last nine games. Meanwhile, it is the sixth multi-goal game for Pozuc in her career, including the third this season.

The Valiants tied the game for the second time as Janet Xu answered 2:58 later, but Sabatini netted her first goal since December 2 and first career game-winning goal. Senior Chelsea Ellis and junior Kellen Wittman recorded the assists.

The Mustangs outshot Manhattanville, 38-26, including 18-9 in the final period while winning 28 of the 48 face-offs. The hosts had eight blocked shots, including three by Wittman. Darosa finished with 23 saves.