Lady Flames upset defending national champion
October 14, 2012 | Boston, Mass.
Katy Girnus scored a pair of goals, Laura Del Monte added one and Kristina Toppazzini stopped a furious late rally as the Liberty Lady Flames Division I hockey team knocked off defending national champion Northeastern University 4-3 Sunday at Matthews Arena in Boston, Mass.
Northeastern got on the board first as Savannah Riley scored on a breakaway late in the first period to put the Huskies up 1-0. Shannon Kelleher increased the lead to 2-0 just 41 seconds into the second and it appeared that they would run away with the contest, but Liberty would not go away quietly. Girnus got the Flames flickering midway through the second off a feed from Sarah Stevenson and beat Huskies goalie Zoe Zisis to cut the deficit in half, and then got the equalizer off a Carrie Jickling assist three minutes later to tie the game heading into the third and final period.
The Lady Flames kept the momentum going their way into the final frame as Stephanie St. Amand got her first goal of the season five minutes in, and Del Monte added a critical insurance goal with just over two minutes remaining off an assist from Autumn Kucharczyk, heroine of Thursday night's win in Vermont.
The Huskies pulled their goaltender and kept the pressure up in the closing minutes, with Nicole Fox cutting the margin to 4-3 with 13 seconds remaining, but Toppazzini was up to the task and the Lady Flames held on for the victory.
"This is a big win for the program," said head coach Paul Bloomfield. "To be able to beat the team that not only knocked us out of nationals last season, but won it all, is a major boost of confidence for us."
Liberty gets 12 days off before travelling to East Lansing, Mich., to face the Michigan State Spartans at Suburban Ice. Game time is 9:30 p.m.