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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Women’s hockey outlasted as Golden Bears break hearts

Women%E2%80%99s+hockey+forward+Liz+Kramp+advances+with+the+puck.+%2F+Photo+from+Beacons+Athletics.
Women’s hockey forward Liz Kramp advances with the puck. / Photo from Beacons Athletics.

Women’s hockey opened the first of their three-game road trip, Saturday, Oct. 28, with a bout against the Golden Bears of Western New England University. UMass Boston came into this contest 1–0, defeating Worcester State in their home opener, per Beacons Athletics. (1) 

On a night that started out lopsided, it seemed both sides found ways to answer the runs of either team when they needed to. Out of the gate, on their “Cub Club Night,” doubling as the home opener, Western New England took advantage of the Beacons’ early careless puck movement with speed and layers. 

The Golden Bears’ constant pressure lasted almost a third of the first period, as UMass Boston struggled to effectively clear the puck. While the breakout continued to harm the Beacons as the night went on, it was the turnovers to the middle that hurt early. Beacons’ goaltender Leah Bosch was forced to make six saves in the first seven minutes due to the Beacons’ lack of awareness behind their net and along the boards. 

Luckily for the Beacons’ skaters, Bosch propelled herself to a fantastic night after her initial tests. Bosch stopped all 33 shots she saw through three-plus periods of play. A big one of the 33 for number 33 came late in the first during a Gianna Skrelja tripping minor. The Bears approached the zone two on two; Mia Boyd pinched and was burned immediately at the blue line, causing a two on one, resulting in multiple scoring chances denied by Bosch.

Unfortunately for the Beacons’ netminder, her counterpart from Western New England was formidable. Rieley Jessie-Gerelli, at six-feet, two-inches according to wnegoldenbears.com, stood tall all night. (2) Jessie-Gerelli’s low pad work shut the bottom of her net down with ease.

These two stud puck-stoppers made fit for a defensive battle of swinging momentum. High scoring chances were lacking in the second frame after UMass Boston buckled up and out-muscled Western New England. The Beacons carried over their physicality from the end of the first period when energy had shifted toward them. 

However, puck and game flow control could not be turned into scoring by the Beacons. Jessie-Gerelli made sure of that until the Golden Bears called a time-out with one minute left in the second period. What had been a curious decision by Golden Bears’ Head Coach Katie Zimmerman to burn hers in the second, turned into a surge from her squad. Beacon pressure on Jessie-Gerelli flipped into a last-minute scramble in front of Bosch. Beacon defenders stepped up blocking two shots; forward Liz Kramp blocked the last effort, taking a hard slap shot to the arm, thus allowing the Beacons to escape.

Kramp had been UMass Boston’s best forward all night, her speed and impressive skating ability willed the Beacons primarily entering the zone to set their offense up. Kramp looked to be in quite some pain, though there were seemingly no worries as she re-entered the game after teammate Emma Webster said, “She’s okay.” 

Offense continuously muffled by both defenses highlighted those who stepped up in the third. Shots knotted at 18, wet ice, and a physical mindset from both teams showed scoring was hard to come by—not to mention the walls in front of both nets. 

UMass Boston’s Katie Wilbert sparked offense for the Beacons; she was relentless on the forecheck and her quickness set up threatening plays. As not much other development for the Beacons’ offense was evident midway through the third, Kramp and Wilbert’s significant impact kept their team afloat until the Golden Bears’ pressure amounted again.

Western New England ramped up their physicality once again, proving it to be the key in this affair, leading to zone time and scoring chances to force UMass Boston into a time-out with 8:16 left in regulation. Beacon Head Coach Moe Bradley’s team did not respond how she had hoped, as the Golden Bears appeared to have broken the tie after the Beacon time-out. The puck was in the net, Golden Bears’ arms were raised, and a premature whistle bailed the Beacons out.

Pace picked up shortly until time ran out. Shots once again sat closely at 29–28 in favor of the Golden Bears heading into overtime.

UMass Boston began overtime flying around, but were ultimately stiffed by Jessie-Gerelli. Tides turned quickly, and it was Bosch’s turn. Golden Bears’ forward Zoe Galanoudis had all the room in the world on a break and settled for a shot from the top of the circle and was denied.

Bosch caught two more breaks from critical mistakes on the Bears’ front, two more opportunities squandered this time with shots sailing over the net. This included another almost costly pinch by Boyd; she was beaten by a Western New England forward, only to rifle it over Bosch’s head.

Her head was still certainly in the game as she laid out for a game-saving pad save. This was save number 33 of the night for Bosch, matched by Jessie-Gerelli. 

The players in net solidified their performance in the first three rounds of a shootout, until Alyssa Murphy was finally able to leak it through Bosch, forcing UMass Boston into a must-score situation. 

Coach Bradley opted for Adriana Crepaldi with the game on her stick. She beat Jessie-Gerelli, the first time she had been beaten all night, with a forehand-backhand move only to be robbed by the left post, game over. 

It looked like Kramp had been the Beacons’ best offensive threat all night. She wasn’t called upon in the shootout; could her arm have been a factor? That will be a question of interest moving forward. 

It was a tough game for the Beacons, who showed ability to play through adversity. The offense looks like a work in progress, but the breakout was definitely their biggest flaw in this young season. Nevertheless, extremely promising play from Bosch kept the competing Beacons in the game, resulting in a tie that felt like a gut punch. 

  1. 2023-24 Women’s Ice Hockey Schedule – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)
  2. Rieley Jessie-Gerelli – 2023-24 – Women’s Ice Hockey – Western New England University (wnegoldenbears.com)