No. 8 UNH women's hockey edges Providence, 2-1

Jones, Hekle record two points apiece

Nicole Hekle

DURHAM, N.H.- In a battle for first place in Hockey East, Stephanie Jones (Kimberley, B.C.) and Nicole Hekle (Winnipeg, Manitoba) both recorded a goal and an assist to lift the eighth-ranked University of New Hampshire women's ice hockey team to Sunday afternoon's 2-1 victory against Providence College at the Whittemore Center.

UNH, 9-0-1 in the last 10 home games vs. the Friars, improved to 16-5-4 overall this season and climbed back atop the league standings with an 8-1-2 mark. Providence is now 13-7-4, 8-1-1.

With the score tied 1-1 through two periods, the Wildcats took a 2-1 lead at 2:26 on their only shot of the final frame. Leah Craig (Seaforth, Ontario) started the sequence with a pass off the right dashers through the neutral zone to Jones. Jones' centering pass was collected by Hekle in the slot and she scored her 16th goal of the season.

PC pulled goaltender Amy Thomas in favor of an extra skater with 74 seconds remaining and called time out with 1:03 to play. UNH, however, effectively kept the puck out of its defensive zone the rest of the way and limited the Friars to just one shot.

UNH goaltender Melissa Bourdon (Ile Bizard, Quebec) made that one save to finish with 24 in the game. Thomas stopped 13 shots defending the PC goal.

Following a scoreless first period, Jones scored a power-play goal from the left doorstep at 12:55 of the middle stanza to give the 'Cats a 1-0 lead. Lindsay Hansen (Northport, N.Y.) and Hekle, who passed the puck across the crease, were credited with assists.

Providence tied the game, 1-1, when Rush Zimmerman, standing near the right post, scored a power-play goal at 17:13 just seven seconds after UNH had killed off a 5-on-3 that lasted 69 seconds. Karen Thatcher, who recorded her 100lh career point, and Cherie Hendrickson set up the tally.

New Hampshire returns to action Feb. 4 (7 p.m.) at Northeastern University, The next Wildcat home game is Feb. 26 ys. Providence College.

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