HANOVER, N.H. – Sam Faber (Mt. Sinai, N.Y.) scored two goals, including the game-winning tally, to propel the No. 1 University of New Hampshire women’s ice hockey team to Thursday night’s 3-1 non-conference victory against No. 9 Dartmouth College at Thompson Arena.
UNH extended its winning streak to five games to improve to 20-3-0 overall and 9-2-0 vs. nationally-ranked teams. The Wildcats have reached 20 wins all of head coach Brian McCloskey’s six years at the helm. Dartmouth lost its second consecutive game to fall to 11-6-2.
With the score tied 1-1 entering the third period, UNH quickly regained the lead on Faber’s second strike of the game and team-leading 17th of the season at . Faber and Kelly Paton (Woodstock, Ontario) cycled the puck on the right wing and moved the puck back to Nicole Goguen (Truro, Nova Scotia) at the point. Goguen then slipped the puck forward to Faber and her shot from the circle found the upper-right corner of the net.
One minute later, Dartmouth’s Shannon Bowman was left unattended in the slot. She drifted to the left and snapped a wrist shot that UNH goaltender Kayley Herman (Weyburn, Saskatchewan) snared with her glove.
In the fifth minute, DC’s Sarah Parsons was denied by Herman on a blast from the right circle and UNH immediately transitioned to the other end of the ice, where Micaela Long (South Boston, Mass.) was stoned by Big Green goalie Carli Clemis.
The Wildcats continued to pressure and Sadie Wright-Ward (Durham, N.H.) curled from behind the net to the left post and redirected the puck into Clemis. Wright-Ward then set up UNH’s third goal of the game, a tally by Jennifer Hitchcock (LaSalle, Ontario) at . Wright-Ward executed the centering pass from behind the net and Hitchcock one-timed a shot from the top of the crease into the net. Leah Craig (Seaforth, Ontario) was also credited with an assist.
With DC on its fifth power play of the game, Jenn Wakefield (Pickering, Ontario) generated a dangerous shorthanded bid for the ‘Cats when she stole the puck in the neutral zone, dragged the puck across from left to right and was denied by Clemis at the doorstep.
UNH was whistled for penalties at and to give the Big Green a 5x3 advantage for 47 seconds. Dartmouth called time out at but the penalty-kill unit of Wright-Ward, Maggie Joyce (Hudson, Ohio) and Kacey Bellamy (Westfield, Mass.) kept the home team on the perimeter.
A Wildcat was sent to the penalty box for the eighth time at and, after strong forechecking by Wakefield, DC generated an odd-man rush with remaining in which Maggie Kennedy’s shot from the left circle was stopped by Herman. The Big Green did not get another shot on goal the rest of the way.
Herman finished with 22 saves, including 12 in the third period, while Clemis stopped 23 shots with 10 saves in the first period.
The Wildcats controlled play early in the game with the benefit of consecutive power-play opportunities. Less than two minutes into the game, a Wildcats’ flurry led to shots in front by Wakefield and Long that were blocked by the Big Green defense. On the next UNH power play, Wakefield’s one-timer from the left circle sailed off the far post at .
New Hampshire was awarded a penalty shot at when a Dartmouth skater covered the puck in the crease. Faber charged down the slot and shifted to the backhand, then pulled the puck back to the forehand and tucked her low shot into the net to give the ‘Cats a 1-0 lead.
DC tied the score, 1-1, at when Kennedy won the faceoff back to Julia Bronson at the right point and her shot fluttered through traffic and trickled between Herman’s leg pads before crossing the goal line.
Both teams generated strong scoring opportunities in the scoreless second period. With just under five minutes elapsed, DC’s Kennedy sped down the left wing around a UNH defenseman to the left post, but Herman stood her ground for the save. Moments later, a loose puck created a 2-on-1 situation down low and Shannon Bowman was stymied by Herman at the right doorstep.
Midway through the second period, Wildcats’ pressure resulted in Hitchcock’s backhander from the slot that rose through traffic into Clemis’ torso. With the Big Green on its fourth power play, Faber carried the puck up the right dashers and against two defenseman maneuvered to the slot and across before lifting a backhanded shot into Clemis in the 15th minute. The rebound sat in the crease for a few seconds, but DC eventually cleared the puck away. Shortly thereafter, the line of Faber, Wakefield and Paton sustained pressure and made two passes across the crease that failed to connect with the unmarked player on the opposite side. In the closing minutes, the ‘Cats once again sustained pressure and Joyce’s blast from the left point was redirected wide of the far post by Hitchcock.
Faber’s first-period goal marked the team’s first on a penalty shot this season. UNH’s 8-for-8 on the penalty kill extended the streak to 31 consecutive successful kills.
New Hampshire returns to action Jan. 19 () at home against longtime nemesis ProvidenceCollege. Tickets are available online at www.unhwildcats.com, by calling 866-WILDCAT or visiting the WhittemoreCenter box office.