WESTON, Mass. – Elms College junior forward Kayla Narey (South Hadley, Mass.) netted the equalizing goal in the 41st minute of play but Regis College used a penalty stroke goal from Stacy Burns (Everett, Mass.) in the 91st minute to lift the second-seeded Pride to a thrilling 2-1 victory over the third-seeded Blazers in Wednesday evening's New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) Championship tournament semifinal field hockey game at Regis Stadium in Weston, Mass.
With the loss, Elms falls to 5-14 overall, while Regis advances to the NECC Championship title game and improves to 8-10 overall.
In a game that was tightly contested throughout, Regis advanced on a penalty stroke award to Burns following a blocked shot from Christine O'Toole (Boston, Mass.) five minutes into the second overtime period. Burns fired the ball into the top right corner of the cage breaking the 1-1 tied and sending the Pride to the finals.
Melinda Sutton (Eliot, Maine) put Regis on the board late in the first frame when Burns blasted the ball towards goal and Sutton tipped it in at the 31:26 mark to set the score at 1-0 at intermission. Elms held a 5-2 advantage in shots during the first half, but Pride goalkeeper Raegan Heck (Phillipston, Mass.) turned away both shots on target.
The Blazers netted the equalizer early in the second half as Narey tipped in a blast from junior midfielder Imogen Leonard (Sharon, Mass.) to even the game at 1-1 in the 41st minute of action.
Regis had three opportunities in the final five minutes of regulation as O'Toole, Sashae Walls (Everett, Mass.) and Becka Sarson (York, Maine) each offered a shot at goal, but Blazers' sophomore goalkeeper Samantha Alvino (Holtsville, N.Y.) delivered three superb saves to keep the game even and force overtime.
Regis edged the Blazers, 4-3 in shots in the first 15 minutes of extra time but neither team could find the cage for the decisive goal. The Pride had a pair of shots early in the second stanza of overtime before Burns connected for her game-winning penalty stroke.
Alvino finished with five saves, while junior defender Ashley Reid (Enfield, Conn.) was stellar in the back third of the field making two defensive saves in the losing effort.
Heck finished with six saves for the Pride to seal the win.