DURHAM, N.H. – Martine Garland (Toronto, Ontario) matched her career high of two goals, Kacey Bellamy (Westfield, Mass.) tallied two assists and Kayley Herman (Weyburn, Saskatchewan) recorded 22 saves to lead the second-ranked University of New Hampshire women’s ice hockey team to Sunday afternoon’s 2-1 non-conference victory against top-ranked University of Wisconsin before 1,226 fans at the Whittemore Center.
UNH, which also defeated Wisconsin 2-1 on Saturday, completed the weekend series sweep of the Badgers to improve to 11-2-0 overall, 6-1-0 vs. nationally-ranked teams and 6-0-1 lifetime vs. UW. Wisconsin dropped its third consecutive game to fall to 9-4-1.
Unlike Saturday’s matchup, which was scoreless midway through the game, UNH grabbed an early 1-0 lead Sunday afternoon with a power-play goal at 1:51 of the first period. UW was whistled for hooking just 30 seconds into the game and the Wildcats generated strong pressure by cycling the puck. Bellamy’s initial shot from the high slot was stopped by UW goaltender Jessie Vetter (20 saves), but Jennifer Hitchcock (LaSalle, Ontario) was positioned at the top of the crease and pushed the loose puck off the rebound towards the left post, where Garland jammed the puck into the net for her first goal of the season.
The Badgers nearly tied the game in the sixth minute, but Hilary Knight’s shot trickled across the goal line after she charged and dislodged the net. With 5:40 remaining in the period, Herman preserved UNH’s one-goal lead when she slid to the top of the crease to stop Jasmine Giles’ shot from the slot in a 3on-2 rush. In the closing seconds, Herman came up big for the ‘Cats again by turning aside Meghan Duggan at the right doorstep.
Following a scoreless second stanza, UW pulled even at 2:06 of the third period. In a battle for possession of the puck just outside the Badgers’ offensive zone on the left dashers, Erika Lawler poked the puck forward and Kyla Sanders broke free to fire a wrister into the net from the left circle.
The Wildcats immediately seized back momentum by killing off Wisconsin’s fourth power play of the game and regaining the lead on Garland’s second strike of the game at 4:45. Sam Faber (Mt. Sinai, N.Y.) carried the puck up the left dashers to lead a 3-on-1 breakaway and, after surveying her options, found Garland charging in as a fourth attacker and the defenseman’s shot from the inner part of the right circle found the upper-right corner of the net. Bellamy, who made the outlet pass up the boards in the defensive zone to Faber, was also credited with an assist.
Three minutes later with UW on another power play, Knight was denied by Herman from the top of the crease and Emily Morris’ shot off the rebound caromed off the crossbar.
Near the end of UW’s next power play opportunity – with 3:30 remaining in the game – the New Hampshire duo of Faber and Kelly Paton (Woodstock, Ontario) nearly combined to produce a shorthanded goal. Faber’s forechecking created a turnover and her centering pass from the right circle found Paton in the slot, but the shot was stopped by Vetter.
UNH was whistled for a penalty with 24 seconds to play and, after calling a timeout, the Badgers pulled Vetter in favor of an extra skater. Much like Saturday’s game (in which UW had a 6x4 advantage for the final 24 seconds), the Wildcats’ penalty kill prevented any shots on goal. Hitchcock sealed the victory when she blocked Angie Kesely’s shot from the left point, poked the puck forward into the neutral zone and sent it the length of the ice to close out the final 10 seconds.
Herman stopped 41 of 43 shots in the two-game series for a .953 save percentage against a team that entered the weekend ranked fourth in the nation in offense at 3.92 goals per game.
New Hampshire continues its eight-game homestand Nov. 24-25 against Niagara University. Both games start at 1 p.m., and video streaming will be available for both games at UNHwildcats.tv.