CANTON, N.Y. – Sam Faber (Mt. Sinai, N.Y.), Steph Holmes (Rye, N.Y.) and Jenn Wakefield (Pickering, Ontario) netted third-period goals to rally the third-ranked University of New Hampshire women’s ice hockey team to Friday night’s 4-2 non-conference victory against fourth-ranked St. Lawrence University at Appleton Arena.
UNH (1-0-0), winners of two consecutive Hockey East tournament titles and the 2007-08 favorite in the league’s Preseason Coaches Poll, won its season opener for the sixth consecutive year and has a 27-3-1 lifetime record in season openers. SLU (0-1-0), the preseason favorite in the ECAC poll, had been unbeaten at home vs. the Wildcats in the previous six meetings (5-0-1), which dated back to New Hampshire’s 7-1 win in March 1999.
The Wildcats entered the third period trailing 2-1 and with a player in the penalty box. They successfully killed off that Saints’ power-play opportunity and Faber scored six seconds later to pull the ‘Cats even, 2-2, at 2:02. Nicole Goguen (Truro, Nova Scotia) was credited with an assist on the tally, which was Faber’s 98th career point.
UNH then scored goals 4:07 apart to retake the lead and extend that advantage to two goals. Holmes, with the assistance of Kelly Paton (Woodstock, Ontario) and Leah Craig (Seaforth, Ontario), gave the Wildcats their second lead of the game, 3-2, at 10:36. Wakefield, in her collegiate debut, potted a goal at 14:43. Courtney Birchard (Mississauga, Ontario), also in her first college game, and Jennifer Hitchcock (LaSalle, Ontario), UNH’s active leading point scorer, were credited with assists.
New Hampshire went on the power play with 1:25 remaining and SLU was unable to pull goaltender Meaghan Guckian in favor of an extra skater.
UNH rookie goalie Kayley Herman (Weyburn, Saskatchewan) made 16 saves to earn the victory in her first collegiate start. Guckian finished with 23 saves.
Sadie Wright-Ward (Durham, N.H.) gave the Wildcats a 1-0 lead with a goal at 18:43 of the first period. Craig, who finished the night with two assists, and Micaela Long (South Boston, Mass.) set up the tally.
The Saints took a 2-1 lead in the middle stanza on power-play goals 1:20 apart by Marianna Locke (at 4:11) and Alison Domenico (5:31).
The Wildcats' balanced attack had four goal scorers and 10 skaters with a point. Craig was the only multiple-point scorer in the game.
UNH recorded a 27-18 shot advantage, including 9-3 in the final frame. The Wildcats went 0-for-6 on the power play while SLU converted two of 10 opportunities.
This was UNH’s first road opener in three years, and the team’s first season opener against a nationally-ranked team since skating to a 1-1 tie at fourth-ranked University of Minnesota in October 1998.
New Hampshire and SLU conclude the two-game series at Appleton Arena on Saturday afternoon (4 p.m.). The Wildcats’ home opener is Oct. 14 against Colgate University. Tickets are available online at www.unhwildcats.com, and the game will also be available for viewing at UNHwildcats.tv.