Sam Faber (Mt. Sinai, N.Y.) recorded a goal and an assist to propel the fourth-ranked University of New Hampshire women’s hockey team to Sunday afternoon’s 3-1 victory against Providence College in the 2007 Hockey East Championship title game at the Whittemore Center.

UNH, which has now defended its 2006 Hockey East regular-season and tournament titles in 2007, improved to 28-3-5 with its fifth consecutive win and extended its unbeaten streak to 13 games (11-0-2). Providence, which upset eighth-ranked Boston College in Saturday’s semifinal to advance to the championship game, ends the season at 16-6-4.

It has been announced that UNH, which received the league's automatic NCAA berth into the championship by winning the tournament title, will play host to St. Lawrence University in a March 10 NCAA regional game. Start time at the Whittemore Center is 1 p.m.

The Wildcats took an early 1-0 lead in the first period and led by that one-goal score at the first intermission. Providence was whistled for penalties at 1:16 and 1:44 and although the ‘Cats did not capitalize on the extended power-play opportunity, Kacey Bellamy (Westfield, Mass.) scored two seconds after the latter penalty expired. From a scrum in front of the net, the puck was pushed to the side of the left post, where Faber gained possession. She skated behind the net and found Bellamy unmarked at the right post and she lifted the puck into the open right side.

Providence evened the score, 1-1, at 6:42 of the second period. At center ice, Mari Pehkonen advanced the puck forward to Erin Normore. She carried into the slot 1-on-1 with a Wildcat defenseman and wristed a shot that eluded UNH goaltender Melissa Bourdon (Ile Bizard, Quebec). The tally ended Bourdon’s Hockey East Championship shutout streak at 109 minutes, 39 seconds.

Lindsey Caleo (Clinton Township, Mich.) gave the Wildcats a 2-1 lead three minutes later (at 9:48) and by scoring what proved to be the game-winning goal. On the forecheck, she gained possession in the left corner, carried the puck behind the net and patiently waited for the shot just outside the crease to the upper-left corner of the net.

“(That goal) was huge, they battled us to a tie a couple weeks ago, it’s funny that goal, Lindsey Caleo has scored that goal before,” UNH head coach Brian McCloskey said. “She is pretty crafty coming off the back of the net and it’s something we talk with our forwards about a lot. She executed that to perfection and walked right out and made the goalie move. You could feel it on the bench, it was a big lift.”

Bourdon preserved that one-goal margin at 12:20 of the stanza when a UNH turnover in the defensive zone provided PC’s Rachel Crissy with a point-blank range near the right post.

The Wildcats carried that 2-1 lead into the locker room and Micaela Long (South Boston, Mass.) hit the right post on a shot from the right circle 1:30 into the final frame.

Five minutes later, PC goalie Jana Bugden denied Faber from the slot and again on the rebound, then stopped Martine Garland’s (Toronto, Ontario) screened shot from the right point.

With five minutes to play, Bourdon made another big save to keep UNH’s lead when Sonny Watrous and Brittany Nelson generated a 2-on-1 breakaway. Watrous carried the puck into the left circle and fed a centering pass to Nelson, whose shot from the slot was turned aside by Bourdon’s left leg pad.

Providence called time out and pulled Bugden in favor of an extra skater with 2:18 to play. The Friars maintained possession in the offensive zone and fired a few shots on Bourdon before UNH was able to alleviate the pressure by clearing the puck out of the zone.

At the other end of the ice, the forecheck of Kelly Paton (Woodstock, Ontario) knocked the puck to Faber, who lifted a shot from the left circle into the empty net with 25.5 seconds remaining to give the ‘Cats a 3-1 lead.

Bourdon recorded 18 saves, including seven in the third period. Bugden, named the Hockey East Championship MVP, stopped 34 shots, 16 in the second period.

“I think the game lived up to what it would be,” PC head coach Bob Deraney said. “I thought the closer the game was as we went on the better chance we had to get the win. The bottom line is you can’t take penalties, you take penalties it’s a lot of wasted energy. That jumpstarted them and that is a team that is so explosive and has so many weapons. We gave them the momentum early. I was really excited about the third period and down the stretch we had a couple opportunities to tie the game."

Bugden was joined on the All-Tournament Team by teammates Kristin Gigliotti (defense) and Pehkonen (forward). UNH forwards Faber and Paton were joined by defenseman Bellamy on the All-Tournament Team.

New Hampshire is now 2-2 in Hockey East title games and 7-9 overall when a league title is on the line. UNH is 23-2 at home in the postseason with a 6-1 mark in championship games. The Wildcats have won league titles in 2007, 2006, 1996, 1991, 1990, 1987 and 1986.

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