DURHAM, N.H.-- The eighth-ranked University of New Hampshire women's ice hockey team overcame a pair of one-goal deficits and then settled for a 3-3 tie in Saturday afternoon's Hockey East game against Providence College at the Whittemore Center in front of a season-high crowd of 958.
UNH, 9-0-2 in the last 11 home games vs. the Friars, broke the school single-season record for ties with its sixth and is now 19-6-6 overall and 11-2-4 in Hockey East. PC, at 16-10-5 overall and 11-4-2 in the league, still trails the Wildcats by two points for the top spot in the Hockey East standings. The winner of Sunday's two o'clock game in Providence will control its destiny for the regular-season title.
With the game tied 2-2 through two periods, UNH gained its first lead of the game at 8:09 of the third period when a low, screened shot from the top of the right circle by Nicole Goguen (Truro, Nova, Scotia) found the back of the net. Lindsey Caleo (Clinton Township, Mich.) made the drop pass to set up the tally.
Providence rallied to tie the game, 3-3, shortly after a successful penalty kill. After exiting the penalty box, Rachel Crissy picked up a loose puck in front of her and skated alone on the right wing. She fired a shot from the top of the circle that sailed inside the far post to level the score with 5:57 to play in regulation.
PC's Katelynn Laffin nearly broke the deadlock with three minutes to play when her shot from the right circle caromed off the far post.
UNH goaltender Melissa Bourdon (Ile Bizard, Quebec) and PC goalie Amy Thomas both made two saves in the five-minute overtime session. Bourdon finished with 24 saves, including 10 in the second period. Thomas stopped 31 shots, including 12 in the third stanza.
The visitors needed just nine seconds to capitalize on the first power-play opportunity of the game and take a 1-0 lead at 6:50 of the opening frame. Kathleen Smith's diagonal pass from the right point found Sonny Watrous in the left corner, and Karen Thatcher converted her centering pass into a goal.
Jennifer Hitchcock (LaSalle, Ontario) broke into the offensive zone alone on the left wing and snapped a shot from the circle that beat Thomas to tie the score, 1-1, at 10:51. Diana Saly (Edina, Minn.) made a pass out of the left corner in the defensive zone and Caleo threw the puck off the boards into the neutral zone to spring Hitchcock.
PC regained the lead, 2-1, just 21 seconds later, however, when Laffin - with the assistance of Watrous and Rush Zimmerman - scored from close range.
The Wildcats capitalized on a 5-on-3 power play to tie the score, 2-2, at 9:32 of the middle stanza. Leah Craig's (Seaforth, Ontario) diagonal pass from the left point found Stephanie Jones (Kimberley, B.C.) alone at the right post, and Jones snapped a high shot under the crossbar. Nicole Hekle (Winnipeg, Manitoba) was also credited with an assist.
New Hampshire's next home game, which will be Senior Day, is March 5 vs. Boston College. Game time at the Whittemore Center is 2 p.m.