LAVOIE RECORDS TWO POINTS AS #3 WOMEN'S HOCKEY FALLS 3-2 AT #9 PROVIDENCE

RAYLEN DZIENGELEWSKI

PROVIDENCE, R.I.Kristina Lavoie (Fonthill, Ontario) recorded a goal and an assist and Micaela Long (South Boston, Mass.) extended her point-scoring streak to 14 games, but the ninth-ranked Providence College women’s ice hockey team defeated third-ranked University of New Hampshire, 3-2, Sunday afternoon at Schneider Arena.

UNH, which also lost at home by a 3-2 score to the Friars on Saturday, is now 13-4-4 overall and 7-3-1-0 in Hockey East with all three league losses coming at the hands of Providence. PC improved to 10-7-8, 6-3-4-2 after completing the season series sweep of the Wildcats.

UNH goaltender Kayley Herman (Weyburn, Saskatchewan) finished with 27 saves, including 18 in the second period. PC netminder Genevieve Lacasse stopped 21 shots.

New Hampshire recorded a 6-5 shot advantage in the first period and created most of its dangerous scoring opportunities during three power plays. From the faceoff of the initial power play of the game at 6:45, Courtney Birchard (Mississauga, Ontario) blasted a slap shot through traffic from the right point, but Lacasse made the stop. Then in the closing seconds of the extra skater advantage, Raylen Dziengelewski (Southwick, Mass.) fired a screened slap shot from the left point that Lacasse blocked aside.

On UNH’s next power play at 12:18, Birchard once again produced a handful of scoring chances during sustained pressure in the offensive zone. Her initial shot from the high slot was denied by Lacasse, a second attempt from the slot was wristed wide right and a third shot from the high slot was blocked by a defenseman.

At 15:30, with the ‘Cats once again on the power play, Lavoie released a hard shot from the low slot wide left of the cage.

PC took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission on an Alyse Ruff power-play goal at 19:20 of the opening stanza. Jean O’Neill gained possession in the left corner and threw a pass in front and the puck deflected off Jessica Vella to Ruff at the right post, and she tucked the puck into open near side.

UNH was on the penalty kill in the opening minutes of the second period but Kelly Paton (Woodstock, Ontario) sprung Kristine Horn (Utica, Mich.) on a breakaway down the slot. Horn was unable to record a shot, however, as she lost control of the puck on a Friars’ hooking infraction.
PC went back on the power play shortly thereafter following another UNH penalty, and Amber Yung fired a slap shot from the left point that caromed off the crossbar.

UNH evened the score, 1-1, with a power-play goal at 5:16. Long initiated the scoring sequence with an outlet pass from the defensive zone to Paton, who then advanced the puck along the right wing to Lavoie. She attacked the net and left the puck for Paton, who beat Lacasse from the right doorstep.

The Friars netted goals 4:41 apart to build a 3-1 advantage. UNH lost possession while trying to skate the puck out of the defensive zone and Jackie Duncan corralled the loose puck in the left circle. With her back to the net, Duncan backhanded a pass to Arianna Rigano, who was cutting alone down the slot and scored from the top of the crease at 12:15.

Jennifer Friedman gave the home team a two-goal lead at 16:56 when her shot from the high slot sailed through traffic into the upper-right corner of the net.

PC recorded 20 second-period shots – the Friars had 19 shots total in Saturday’s game at the Whittemore Center – to outscore the ‘Cats 2-1 in the middle stanza and take a 3-1 lead into the second intermission.

UNH pulled within 3-2 at 4:38 of the third period with a 4-on-4 even-strength goal. Dziengelewski forwarded the puck out of the defensive zone to Horn along the right dasher in the neutral zone. Horn quickly centered the puck to Lavoie for a breakaway opportunity. She skated down the slot and slid a shot from the top of the crease past Lacasse.

Both teams generated a dangerous scoring chance in the ninth minute. Paton carried the puck along the right wing on a New Hampshire rush and centered a pass to Birchard, who lifted a backhanded shot wide right. PC responded with a 2-on-1 rush but Dziengelewski foiled that bid with a sliding effort that blocked the attempted crossing pass.

UNH pulled Herman in favor of an extra skater with 65 seconds remaining. The ‘Cats immediately generated pressure and a spinning effort by Paton in the right circle resulted in a shot across the crease. With 20 seconds to play, Dziengelewski’s one-timer from the right circle was stopped by Lacasse.

With 10.2 seconds on the clock, Providence won a faceoff in the left circle and iced the puck the length of the ice to force another faceoff with 2.6 seconds remaining. Long won that faceoff towards the slot, but the puck slid across as time expired.

New Hampshire returns to action Jan. 20 at home against Northeastern. Game time at the Whittemore Center is 7 p.m.

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