, Conn.Jenn Wakefield (Pickering, Ontario) broke a tie with 92 seconds remaining to lift the fifth-ranked University of New Hampshire women’s ice hockey team to Saturday afternoon’s 4-3 victory against 10th-ranked University of Connecticut at Mark Edward Freitas Ice Forum.
UNH extended its winning streak to 12 games to improve to 21-5-5 overall and 15-2-3 in Hockey East. UConn is now 19-10-4, 12-6-1. The teams conclude the regular season Feb. 22 at UNH’s Whittemore Center and the Wildcats’ four seniors will be honored prior to the 2 p.m. opening faceoff.

Wakefield finished with a goal and an assist and Kelly Paton (Woodstock, Ontario) tallied a game-high three points with a goal and two assists. Julie Allen (Brampton, Ontario) and Kacey Bellamy (Westfield, Mass.) netted UNH’s other goals and goaltender Lindsey Minton (Richardson, Texas) recorded 13 saves.

UConn goalie Brittany Wilson was credited with 20 saves.

UNH erased two-goal deficits of 2-0 and 3-1 in the second period to enter the third period in a 3-3 tie. In the sixth minute of the final frame, Sarah Cuthbert (East Falmouth, Mass.) generated a 2-on-2 breakout for the ‘Cats with an outlet pass from the defensive zone. Paton corralled the pass along the left dashers and wristed a shot from the circle that was stopped by Wilson.

New Hampshire went on its fourth power play of the game at 10:14, but UConn’s penalty kill was effective at minimizing scoring chances and yielded two shots. As the skater advantage expired, Angela Taylor (Paisley, Scotland) redirected a shot at the right doorstep wide of the net.

In the 15th minute, Taylor, off a feed from behind the net by Wakefield, was denied by Wilson at the left doorstep. With 2:30 to play, UConn’s Michelle Binning sped along the right dashers against two defenders and fired a shot that was enveloped by Minton’s torso.

Within a minute, the ‘Cats were cycling the puck at the other end of the ice. Paton passed the puck off to Taylor, who circled from behind the net to the right post and was foiled by Wilson. Wakefield, battling for position in front of the net, jammed the rebound into the net at 18:28.

UConn pulled Wilson in favor of an extra skater with 1:22 remaining. With one minute on the clock, the Huskies entered the zone in a 3-on-3 rush with Dominique Thibault carrying the puck on the left wing. Her shot from the circle was stopped by Minton and the rebound continued wide of the far post.

The ‘Cats cleared the puck out of the zone and secured the win by controlling a faceoff to Minton’s left with 6.8 seconds to play.
Nicole Tritter was the beneficiary with possession in the right circle, but her shot was turned aside by Minton.

In the third minute, Wilson had to make an acrobatic glove save when a bounding shot by Raylen Dziengelewski (Southwick, Mass.) from along the boards near mid-ice to an unexpected large bounce towards the right post.

Three minutes later, Courtney Birchard (Mississauga, Ontario) executed an outlet pass from UNH’s defensive blue line to Sam Faber (Mt. Sinai, N.Y.) at the other side of the neutral zone. Faber entered the offensive zone at the right point and quickly moved the puck across to Paton, and her wrist shot was knocked down by Wilson.

Midway through the period, Micaela Long (South Boston, Mass.) corralled a loose puck along the right half-boards, skated through the circle and was denied by Wilson at the doorstep. The rebound went to the slot, however, and Paton fired a shot wide right of the cage.

The Huskies took a 1-0 lead when Lauren LeMond scored from the front doorstep at 14:31. Jessica Lutz, whose initial shot from the left circle was blocked, and Brittany Murphy set up the tally.
In the opening minute of the second stanza, UConn’s Amy Hollstein fired a shot from the slot that ricocheted off Minton and the right post, and the rebound was just out of the reach of Thibault at the left doorstep.

The teams then produced three goals in a span of 3:22 to push the score to 3-1 in favor of the Huskies. Kristen Russell, with the assistance of Hollstein and Cristin Allen, scored a power-play goal from the top of the crease at 1:10.

Allen scored her second goal in as many games to pull the Wildcats within 2-1 at 2:37. Long gained possession behind the net and circled out of the right corner to the lower circle. She pushed a pass across the low slot and Allen, positioned at the top of the crease, swept the puck inside the open right post.

UConn immediately regained momentum with Monique Weber’s goal at 4:32. Tritter collected Sami Evelyn’s pass at the right half-boards and centered the puck to Weber, who was cutting alone down the slot and then beat Minton from close range.

New Hampshire responded with goals at 8:28 and 11:01 to tie the score, 3-3. Cuthbert led a 3-on-2 rush down the right wing and dropped a pass back to Paton in the high slot. She quickly moved the puck to Wakefield for a blast in the left circle. Wilson knocked that shot down, but Paton was at the left doorstep to poke the rebound into the net to make it 3-2.

Paton initiated the sequence on the next tally by winning the puck on the right half-boards and throwing the puck to Birchard in the high slot. She threaded a pass down low to Bellamy, who scored from close range to tie the score.

Less than two minutes later, Faber’s attempted centering pass to Long caromed off a UConn defenseman and forced Wilson to make an acrobatic save. UNH had another strong scoring chance in the waning minutes of the second stanza when, on the power play ,Wakefield’s one-timer from the slot sailed wide left.

The 2009 Women’s Hockey East Championship Tournament will be held March 7-8 at UNH’s Whittemore Center. The Saturday semifinal games are scheduled for 12 and 3 p.m. and Sunday’s championship game is at 12:30 p.m. Tickets are available now at the Whittemore Center Box Office, by calling 603-868-7300 or by clicking here.



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