DURHAM, N.H. - Carolyn Gordon (Petrolia, Ontario) scored the game-winning goal at 2:10 of overtime to lift the ninth-ranked University of New Hampshire women's ice hockey team to Sunday afternoon's 4-3 victory against Providence College, and with it the Hockey East regular-season championship.
UNH secured the No. 1 seed in the Hockey East Championships by extending its unbeaten streak to seven games (6-0-1) to improve to 19-8-4 overall and 14-1-2 in Hockey East. This is the Wildcats' first regular-season conference title since capturing the ECAC crown in the 1997-98 season. PC, which had its eight-game winning streak end with Saturday's 7-4 loss to New Hampshire, is now 15-13-2, 10-5-1.
The Wildcats entered the third period trailing 3-1, but Rebecca Paul (Sudbury, Ontario), who recorded her first career hat trick, netted power-play goals on redirections from the slot at 9:26 and 13:01 to tie the game. On the first of those two tallies, she tipped in a Kristen Thomas (Wilmington, Mass.) slap shot from the high slot -- Gordon also set up that goal. Then on the game-tying goal, Lindsay Hansen (Northport, N.Y.; three assists) sent a cross-ice pass to the left point, where Martine Garland (Toronto, Ontario) fired a slap shot that found the back of the net off Paul's stick.
Regulation ended in a 3-3 tie as both teams had a player in the penalty box. Another PC skater was sent to the penalty box at 1:02 of the extra session, at which point UNH called time out. Gordon netted her team-leading 21st goal of the season 68 seconds later when she fired a wrist shot from the left circle into the upper-left corner of the net.
UNH goaltender Melissa Bourdon (Ile Bizard, Quebec) finished with 17 saves and was not required to make a save in OT. Bugden stopped 21 shots, including two in the overtime session.
Paul opened the game scoring at 3:36 of the first period when she scored off a rebound into the open right side of the net. Allison Edgar (Brigden, Ontario), whose initial shot from the left point was stopped by Bugden, and Hansen set up the goal.
PC's Meredith Roth tied the game, 1-1, with a wrist shot from the inside of the left circle at 6:35. Ashley Payton (three assists) and Kelli Halcisak were credited with assists.
The Friars netted the only two goals of the second period to build a 3-1 lead. Karen Thatcher put the visitors in front at 1:00 when Payton slid the puck across the crease and Thatcher redirected it into the open left side. She struck again with 36 seconds remaining in the stanza as her shot from the right circle sailed inside the far post.
UNH converted 3 of 4 power-play opportunities - PC went 0-for-2 - and generated a 25-20 shot advantage.
New Hampshire returns to action March 4 (7 p.m.) at Boston College. The next Wildcat home game is March 6 vs. BC. The game, which will be preceded by Senior Night honors, begins at 2 p.m.