Wright-Ward scores game-winner with 45 seconds to play
DURHAM, N.H. - Sadie Wright-Ward (Durham, N.H.) broke a 1-1 tie with 45 seconds remaining in regulation to lift the No. 2-ranked University of New Hampshire women's ice hockey team to Friday night's 2-1 non-conference victory against sixth-ranked Mercyhurst College at the Whittemore Center.
UNH extended its unbeaten streak to 16 consecutive games (15-0-1) with its fourth win in a row to improve to 20-2-1 overall. The Wildcats, unbeaten in their last 17 home games (14-0-3), have recorded 20 or more victories all four years under head coach Brian McCloskey. Mercyhurst, which entered the game with a 10-game unbeaten streak of 9-0-1, is now 16-7-2.
With the score tied 1-1 in the third period, Mercyhurst's Stefanie Bourbeau fired a shot from the top of the left circle that caromed off the far post with one minute remaining. UNH quickly countered, however, and Wright-Ward carried the puck out of the right corner to the post, where her shot trickled across the goal line. Sam Faber (Mt. Sinai, N.Y.) and Amy McLaughlin (Berlin, Mass.) were credited with assists on the tally.
Following a Lakers' timeout, UNH won the ensuing faceoff and sent the puck into the offensive zone. MC broke out of the zone with 25 seconds to play but were stymied in the neutral zone and the 'Cats once again dumped the puck behind the Lakers' goal. A last-second pass through the neutral zone was intercepted by McLaughlin and she directed the puck towards the UNH bench as the final seconds ticked off the clock.
UNH goaltender Melissa Bourdon (Ile Bizard, Quebec) finished with 12 saves, including six in the final frame. MC counterpart Laura Hosier made 12 of her 18 saves in the second period.
Following a scoreless first period, Jennifer Hitchcock (LaSalle, Ontario) gave New Hampshire a 1-0 lead at 10:32 of the middle stanza when she skated down the slot and powered the puck into the net. Martine Garland (Toronto, Ontario), who made the pass through the neutral zone to spree Hitchcock, and Nicole Goguen (Truro, Nova Scotia) set up the goal.
The Lakers tied the game, 1-1, with a power-play goal at 7:05 of the third period. Standing in the low slot, Courtney Unruh redirected Ashley Pendleton's shot from the left point into the net.
Mercyhurst generated a 5-3 shot advantage in the scoreless first period. The best scoring chance was generated by a shorthanded UNH team, however, as Wright-Ward skated in alone from the neutral zone down the slot and maneuvered past Hosier before sending a shot off the right post and across the goal mouth.
With their goals, both Hitchcock and Wright-Ward extended their point-scoring streak to 11 games.
New Hampshire concludes its four-game homestand Jan 20 vs. Providence College. Game time at the Whittemore Center is 2 p.m. and tickets may be purchased online at www.unhwildcats.com/tickets.