Wright-Ward records first career hat trick
DURHAM, N.H. - Sadie Wright-Ward (Durham, N.H.) recorded her first career hat trick as part of a four-point effort and Sam Faber (Mt. Sinai, N.Y.) finished with a career-high four points to propel the No. 1-ranked University of New Hampshire women's ice hockey team to Saturday afternoon's 5-0 Hockey East victory against the University of Vermont at the Whittemore Center.
UNH extended its NCAA-record unbeaten streak to 25 games (24-0-1) with its 13th consecutive victory and improved to 29-2-1 overall, 18-1-1 Hockey East. The Wildcats, who shared the regular-season crown last year and won it outright in 2004, earned sole possession of the regular-season title with the victory. UVM fell to 3-28-2, 1-18-1 with its seventh consecutive loss.
Brittany Busa (Concord, Mass.) recorded her second consecutive shutout - third of the season and fifth of her career - with an eight-save effort. The Wildcats have recorded three consecutive shutouts as part of an overall shutout streak of 222 minutes, 19 seconds. UVM goaltender Jenilee Roy stopped 26 shots, including 10 in the first period.
Jennifer Hitchcock (LaSalle, Ontario), a linemate of Faber and Wright-Ward, scored UNH's other two goals and registered an assist to finish with three points. Faber's four points also marked a personal high.
Wright-Ward gave the Wildcats a 1-0 lead at 7:58 of the first period when she maneuvered from the left circle to the slot and wristed a shot under the crossbar. Hitchcock, who set up that tally, increased the advantage to 2-0 with a power-play goal at 17:26. Martine Garland (Toronto, Ontario) moved the puck from the high slot to deep in the right circle, where Kacey Bellamy (Westfield, Mass.) made a centering pass to Hitchcock. Her initial shot was stopped by Roy, but Faber poked the puck towards the open net and Hitchcock tapped it across the goal line.
Hitchcock, with the assistance of Wright-Ward and Faber, scored off a rebound in front to give New Hampshire a 3-0 lead at 12:08 of the second period. Wright-Ward knocked Faber's centering pass out of the air and into the netting to increase the advantage to 4-0 at 15:12. Becky Peters (Dover, N.H.) was also credited with an assist.
Wright-Ward completed her hat trick at 12:38 of the final frame when she once again cut from the left circle to the slot and fired a shot past Roy.
UNH extended its home unbeaten streak to 22 games (21-0-1) with its 16th consecutive win at the Whitt, and that includes all 15 home games this season.
New Hampshire and Vermont conclude the regular season Feb. 26 at the Whittemore Center. The Senior Day ceremony will precede the 2 p.m. opening faceoff. UNH will be the No. 1 seed in the upcoming Hockey East Championship, which is March 4-5 at Northeastern University's Matthews Arena.