Top-seeded New Hampshire exploded for three first period goals en route to a 5-0 victory over fourth-seeded Northeastern in a Hockey East tournament semifinal at Matthews Arena Saturday afternoon.
The Wildcats (23-8-4) move on to battle Providence for the Hockey East championship tomorrow at Matthews Arena (1 p.m.), which will be broadcast live on NESN. The Huskies end their season with a 13-13-8 record.
Freshman goalie Melissa Bourdon made 20 saves to pick up her seventh shutout of the season and second consecutive against the Huskies. The win was her 18th of the season.
UNH wasted no time getting on the board. Freshman Nicole Hekle scooped up a turnover deep in the Husky zone and then wrapped around the net and roofed a shot past senior goalie Chanda Gunn (36 saves) 20 seconds into the game for a 1-0 lead.
New Hampshire added two more goals in the first period. Junior Stephanie Jones took a shot from in front of the net that squeaked by Gunn at 10:56 to make it 2-0. Hekle got an assist on the goal.
Later, freshman Sadie Wright-Ward received a pass from Stehpanie Gordon and moved in on Gunn from the right side. She swept pass Gunn but backhanded the puck on Gunn’s glove side and it trickled in to put UNH up 3-0.
In the second, the sticks were silent as neither team scored. The Huskies had the best scoring opportunity of the period when freshman Amy Goodney had a breakaway, but Bourdon stopped her stick-side shot.
In the third, UNH capped the scoring with two more goals. Senior captain Kristen Thomas took a shot from near the blue line that was wide right of the net. However, the puck bounced off the board towards the left side where Allison Edgar took the rebound and pushed it past Gunn’s stick side at 2:13 to make it 4-0.
Then Jackie Wedster skated in on the left wing and took a shot that hit the left post and ricocheted in to give UNH a 5-0 lead. Janine Goulet assisted on the goal at 7:28.
For the game, New Hampshire had 41 shots on goal while Northeastern had 20.