Busa records fourth career shutout with 14 saves
DURHAM, N.H. - Nicole Hekle (Winnipeg, Manitoba) and Sam Faber (Mt. Sinai, N.Y.) both recorded three points and Brittany Busa (Concord, Mass.) recorded her fourth career shutout with a 14-save effort to lead the No. 1-ranked University of New Hampshire women's ice hockey team to Sunday afternoon's 6-0 Hockey East victory against the University of Connecticut at the Whittemore Center.
UNH won its 11th consecutive game to extend its NCAA-record unbeaten streak to 23 games (22-0-1) and improve to 27-2-1 overall, 16-1-1 in Hockey East. The Wildcats remain two points ahead of Boston College, which recorded a 4-2 victory vs. Providence College on Sunday, in the league standings with a game in-hand. UConn, which lost 5-1 at home to UNH on Friday, is now 11-20-1 overall, 9-10-0 HE.
Faber, who recorded her first multiple-goal game Friday with two tallies vs. the Huskies, netted her 15th and 16th goals of the season and also recorded an assist on UNH's first goal to account for her three points. Hekle finished with three assists while both Sadie Wright-Ward (Durham, N.H.; 1g, 1a) and Jennifer Hitchcock (LaSalle, Ontario; 2a) had multiple-point games.
Busa, who went the distance in last year's scoreless tie at UConn, has two shutouts this season in four starts and four career shutouts in 10 starts. She made six of Sunday's 14 saves in the third period, including one against Nicole Tritter when she snuck behind the defense in the right circle.
Brittany Wilson (seven saves) started in goal for UConn and exited the game at the start of the second period with the Huskies trailing 3-0. Kaitlyn Shain stopped 19 of 20 second-period shots and finished with 28 saves in two periods of relief.
Wright-Ward gave the Wildcats a 1-0 lead and increased her team-leading goal total to 21 when she scored off her own rebound at the left post at 8:51. Faber set up the tally with a pass from the right circle to Hitchcock in front of the net. Wilson stopped Hitchcock's initial shot but Wright-Ward capitalized moments later on the rebound.
Leah Craig (Seaforth, Ontario) extended UNH's lead to 2-0 at 16:20. She collected Becky Peters' (Dover, N.H.) outlet pass in the neutral zone and skated into the left circle, where she lifted a backhander that eluded Wilson and sailed into the net. Hekle was also credited with an assist.
The Wildcats jumped ahead 3-0 when Martine Garland's (Toronto, Ontario) shot from the high slot was deflected in front by Hitchcock to Faber at the left post, and she extended her goal-scoring streak to seven games and point-scoring streak to 11 with a power-play goal at 19:08.
New Hampshire increased the lead to 4-0 at 15:02 of the middle stanza when Maggie Joyce (Norfolk, Mass.) netted her first collegiate goal by crashing the net and lifting the puck off a rebound under the crossbar. Hekle, with the initial shot from the low slot, and Amy McLaughlin (Berlin, Mass.) set up the power-play tally.
Taylor Palazeti (Calgary, Alberta) evaded a couple of defenders in the left circle and wristed a shot under the crossbar to give the 'Cats a 5-0 lead at 8:10 of the third period and Faber, with the assistance of Wright-Ward and Kacey Bellamy (Westfield, Mass.), closed the scoring with 1:26 remaining.
UNH improved to 13-0-0 at the Whittemore Center this season, extended its home winning streak to 14 games and the home unbeaten streak to 20 games (17-0-3).
New Hampshire concludes the regular season with three home games this week. The Wildcats face off against Boston University on Feb. 22 (7 p.m.) and play host to the University of Vermont for a two-game series Feb. 25-26 with both games starting at two o'clock. Tickets for all three games may be purchased online at www.unhwildcats.com/tickets.