Wildcats extend unbeaten streak to 21 games
DURHAM, N.H. - Martine Garland (Toronto, Ontario) set up two of the Wildcats' three power-play goals to lead the No. 1-ranked University of New Hampshire women's ice hockey team to Sunday afternoon's 4-1 Hockey East victory against 10th-ranked Providence College at the Whittemore Center.
UNH won its ninth consecutive game to extend its unbeaten streak to 21 games (20-0-1) and improve to 25-2-1 overall, 14-1-1 in Hockey East. The Wildcats, who swept the season series (3-0-0) vs. Providence for the first time since the 2000 season, sit atop the league standings with 29 points. PC is now 16-10-4, 10-5-2.
Following a scoreless first period in which UNH recorded a 14-5 shot advantage, the 'Cats quickly built a 2-0 lead with power-play goals 13 seconds apart in the middle of the second stanza. With two Friars in the penalty box, Kacey Bellamy (Westfield, Mass.) collected Garland's pass in the high slot and fired a shot that ricocheted off a PC player into the net at 9:45. Then Amy McLaughlin (Berlin, Mass.) took aim from the high slot and her shot was tipped past PC goaltender Jana Bugden at 9:58. Leah Craig (Seaforth, Ontario) was also credited with an assist on the play.
Providence pulled within 2-1 at 18:14 when Karen Thatcher broke in alone down the slot and wristed a shot that slid inside the left post. Kristin Gigliotti, who advanced the puck through the neutral zone to Thatcher, set up the tally.
The Wildcats began the third period with a 5-on-3 power play for 1:33 but did not extend its one-goal lead until Nicole Hekle (Winnipeg, Manitoba) scored at 11:55. Standing at the right post, Lindsay Hansen (Northport, N.Y.) crossed the puck across the crease to Jackie Wedster (Chicago, Ill.), whose shot trickled behind Bugden and was pushed into the open net by Hekle.
Sam Faber (Mt. Sinai, N.Y.) extended her point-scoring streak to nine games - as well as her goal-scoring streak to five - with a power-play tally at 13:22 to extend UNH's lead to 4-1. Bugden stopped Garland's initial shot from the high slot and denied Faber off that rebound, but the puck caromed back to the rookie and she found the back of the net with her next shot.
UNH goaltender Melissa Bourdon (Ile Bizard, Quebec) improved to 7-0-0 with a 1.00 goals-against-average and .941 save percentage vs. nationally-ranked teams with 12 saves. PC's Bugden recorded double digits in saves each period to finish with 40.
Two of Bourdon's best saves came in the first period. She had faced just one shot when she stoned Brittney Lomond, who had just exited the penalty box, on a breakaway. Minutes later, Bourdon made a kick save on Sonny Watrous' shot from the right circle and stopped Thatcher's shot from close range off the rebound.
New Hampshire returns to action Feb. 17 (7 p.m.) at the University of Connecticut. The next Wildcats' home game is Feb. 19 vs. UConn. Game time at the Whittemore Center is 2 p.m. and tickets may be purchased online at www.unhwildcats.com/tickets.