– Micaela Long (South Boston, Mass.) and
Kelly Paton (Woodstock, Ontario) both recorded a
goal and three assists to propel the fourth-ranked University of
New Hampshire women’s ice hockey team to Saturday
night’s 4-1 victory against intrastate rival Dartmouth
College in non-conference action at Thompson Arena.
UNH, with its third consecutive win in the series vs. Dartmouth, improved to 12-2-4 while the Big Green is now 5-5-1.
The three assists and four points matched career highs for both Long and Paton. Kristina Lavoie (Fonthill, Ontario) tallied a goal and two assists to equal her personal bests in both assists and points (three).
UNH goaltender Kayley Herman (Weyburn, Saskatchewan) stopped 10 shots all three periods to match her season high of 30 saves. Dartmouth goalie Mariel Lacina was credited with 29 saves.
On the game’s opening shift, UNH generated a 2-on-1 rush in which Lavoie advanced the puck from the defensive zone to Long, who quickly sent a pass up-ice to Paton. Paton skated into the right circle and floated the puck across the slot to the oncoming Long, who wristed a shot wide left of the cage.
The Big Green responded moments later with a rush in which Sasha Nanji carried the puck down the right wing and was denied at the doorstep by Herman’s glove. Herman foiled another dangerous Dartmouth scoring opportunity when Jenna Cunningham, from behind the net, through the puck in the low slot for a one-timer by Jenna Hobeika.
DC generated a 2-on-1 rush in the sixth minute as Sarah Toupal, skating down the left wing, sent a pass across the slot to Sally Komarek, whose shot back towards the left post was knocked aside by Herman’s blocker.
UNH recorded its first shot on goal at 8:49 when Courtney Sheary (Melrose, Mass.) corralled the puck at center ice, entered the offensive zone on the right wing and was stopped by Lacina at the right doorstep.
The Wildcats went on the first power play of the night at 13:21 and immediately generated a flurry in which Cunningham denied Paton’s bid from the right circle as well as Long’s shot off the rebound at the right post.
Dartmouth took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission on Cunningham’s goal at 18:14. Cunningham carried the puck into the offensive zone down the slot and her shot was gloved down by Herman. The rebound caromed to the right circle, where Cunningham collected the puck and fired a low shot through traffic inside the far post. Kelly Foley and Hobeika were credited with assists.
It was initially ruled that UNH’s Julie Allen (Brampton, Ontario) tied the game at 1:38 of the second period when she stole the puck deep in the left circle, maneuvered to the low slot and, after a slight hesitation, snapped a shot high inside the right post. The four officials conferred at mid-ice and ruled that the puck caromed off the right post and did not cross the goal line.
Herman kept the ‘Cats within one goal when she stopped a flurry of shots by Foley and Hobeika in the ninth minute. Two minutes later, Toupal eluded a Wildcat defenseman deep in the left circle and drove to the net. She took aim at the far post, but Herman snared the puck with her glove.
UNH netted three goals in a span of 5:37 to build a 3-1 lead. Paton’s initial shot was blocked by a defender, but Lavoie collected the puck off the left post and sent a pass to the slot, where Paton backhanded a low shot past Lacina at 12:21. Long was also credited with an assist.
New Hampshire took a 2-1 lead at 14:27. Paton initiated the scoring sequence with a pass from the left wing to Lavoie in the low slot. Lavoie shifted towards the right post, but her shot was blocked. Long’s shot off the rebound was stopped by Lacina, but she scored off her own rebound at 14:27, just 2:06 after the ‘Cats tied the score.
In the 16th minute, Sheary’s outlet pass set up a shot by Kristine Horn (Utica, Mich.) from the right point that Kelly Cahill (Farmington Hills, Mich.) redirected on goal, but Lacina was in position for the save.
UNH netted a power-play goal at 17:58 to extend its advantage to 3-1. From the top of the right circle, Paton sent the puck low to Long, who found Horn alone at the far post for an open-net goal.
In the waning seconds of the second stanza, a slap shot from the left point by Courtney Birchard (Mississauga, Ontario) ricocheted off the post.
Allen nearly struck in the opening minutes of the third period, as her shot from the high slot was redirected away by Lacina’s extended left leg. Minutes later with the ‘Cats on the power play, Birchard’s slap shot through traffic was stopped by Lacina, but the rebound went back to the slot and Lavoie lifted a shot wide left.
In the seventh minute, Herman made an acrobatic save to deny Sarah Parsons, who was alone in front of the net.
The Wildcats took a 4-1 lead at 10:12 with another power-play goal. Lavoie collected Paton’s pass in front of the net and maneuvered to the right before lifting a shot into the net. Long, who moved the puck high on the right wing down low to Paton, was also credited with an assist.
New Hampshire resumes play Jan. 8, 2010 in the opening game of the Sun Life Frozen Fenway doubleheader against Northeastern University. The game, which will be the first women’s ice hockey outdoor game in NCAA history and will be televised live by NESN, begins at 4 p.m.
The Wildcats’ next home game is Jan. 16 (2 p.m.) vs. Providence. It is part of Hockey East’s 3rd Annual Skating Strides against Breast Cancer fundraising initiative.