The Wayne State Warriors (21-8-3, 9-2-1 CHA) closed out their regular season with two wins over Niagara - a 3-1 decision on Friday and a 4-3 victory on Saturday. The wins earned the Warriors a share of the CHA regular-season title. The team also holds the No. 1 seed entering playoff competition.
Melissa Boal, who earned CHA Offensive Player of the Week honors for her weekend contributions, scored the Warriors' first goal on Friday night. Tina Vanderhoeven fed Boal the puck on a Warriors' power play, and Boal sent a wrist shot into the net. Boal set up Sam Poyton midway through the second period, and then scored herself less than 30 seconds later. Danielle Wilson was credited with an assist on Boal's second goal.
Niagara scored once in the second period, and goalie Valery Turcotte made 24 stops to seal the 3-1 victory.
Niagara struck first in Saturday's contest as Ashley Riggs notched a power-play goal at 7:22 of the opening period. Boal set up Poyton to knot the game at one, but the Purple Eagles wrested back the lead early in the second frame. Chelsea Burnett took advantage of a Niagara misplay to go in alone and score unassisted to tie the game back up.
Boal got the Warriors' their first lead of the game by batting in a rebound from Lindsay DiPietro (the assist was DiPietro's NCAA-best 46th of the season). Vanderhoeven was also credited with an assist on the play. The Warriors extended their lead to 4-2 when Katrina Protopapas and Sammi Bowers set up captain Ashley King for her third goal of the season.
In the final period, the Warriors fought off a five-minute penalty, and Niagara pulled their goalie for an extra attacker in the final minutes, resulting in a goal that cut the Warriors' lead to one. However, Turcotte came up huge for her team, making several key stops in the final minutes to preserve the Warriors' lead. She made 17 saves for her 16th win of the season. She finished the weekend with a .922 save percentage and was awarded CHA Defensive Player of the Week honors.The Warriors begin playoff action against fourth-seeded Robert Morris on Thursday at Niagara.
WSU seniors photo courtesy Mark Hicks/West Side Photographic