BOSTON -- Tiffany Owens scored at 10:27 of overtime to lift the 10th-ranked University of Connecticut women's ice hockey team to a 5-4 victory against eighth-ranked University of New Hampshire in Saturday afternoon's Hockey East semifinal game at Boston University's Walter Brown Arena.
UNH, co-champions of the league in the regular season and the No. 2 seed, ends the season at 21-8-6. UConn (16-11-8) will face top-seeded Providence College, a 9-1 victor against Boston College in the other semifinal, in Sunday's Hockey East championship game.
With the Huskies on their eighth power play of the game, Owens netted the team's third power-play goal on a shot from the top of the right circle.
UNH goaltender Brittany Busa (Concord, Mass.), who entered the game with 17:00 remaining in regulation and UNH trailing 3-2, was charged with the loss as she stopped eight of 10 shots, including four in OT, in a total of 27:27 of action. Starting goaltender Melissa Bourdon (Ile Bizard, Quebec) made nine saves in 43:00. UConn goalie Katilyn Shain was credited with 32 saves, including four in overtime.
Following a scoreless first period, both teams scored twice in the middle stanza as UConn took a 2-0 lead before UNH rallied to tie the game. Leslie Hurlburt scored on a second rebound in front of the net to give the Huskies a 1-0 lead at 1:55, then Tiffany Owens netted a power-play goal at 12:25 to extend the advantage to two goals.
Leah Craig (Seaforth, Ontario), a Hockey East All-Rookie Team selection, trimmed the deficit to 2-1with a 4-on-4 goal at 13:41 when she curled from the right circle to the slot and hesitated before firing the puck into the net. Stephanie Jones (Kimberley, B.C.), the Hockey East co-Player of the Year, was credited with an assist on the tally. Becky Peters (Dover, N.H.), off a pass from Lindsay Hansen (Northport, N.Y.), netted her second goal of the year with 1:17 to play in the period to tie the score.
UConn regained the lead, 3-2, just 58 seconds into the third period when Natalie Vibert's power-play shot from the left point trickled through a screen into the net.
New Hampshire scored its second 4x4 goal of the game to tie the score, 3-3, at 4:04 when Lindsey Caleo (Clinton Township, Mich.) collected a pass from the left point from Nicole Goguen (Truro, Nova Scotia) and snapped a wrist shot from the slot into the upper-left corner of the net. Jennifer Hitchcock (LaSalle, Ontario) gave the Wildcats their first lead of the night when she scored on a rebound in front just 44 seconds later. Shannon Clement (Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario) set up the tally with a shot from the right point and Jones, whose shot from the left post was stopped by Shain, was credited with her second assist of the night.
Connecticut tied the score, 4-4, with 3:42 remaining in regulation when Jaclyn Hawkins poked the puck across the goal line from a scrum at the top of the crease.
UNH controlled play in the scoreless first period and generated a 12-2 shot advantage. One of UNH's best chances came off the stick of Clement, who redirected Jessica Zerafa's (Mississauga, Ontario) slap shot just wide of the right post. Two minutes later, Shain stopped Hitchcock's tip in front and then slid to the left post to deny Taylor Palazeti (Calgary, Alberta) on the rebound.
The loss marks the final game for Jones, UNH's lone senior. In 142 career games, Jones amassed 78 goals and 64 assists for 142 points. Those numbers rank tied for 10th on the program's all-time goals list, tied for 23rd in assists and 14th in points.