– Kelly Paton (Woodstock, Ontario) and
Micaela Long (South Boston, Mass.) recorded three
points apiece to propel the fourth-ranked University of New
Hampshire women’s ice hockey team to Sunday afternoon’s
4-1 victory against eighth-ranked University of Connecticut in
Hockey East action at the Freitas Ice Forum.
UNH, which extended its unbeaten streak vs. the Huskies to 16 games (14-0-2) with its fifth straight win in the series, is now 16-6-5 overall and 10-5-2-0 in Hockey East. UConn, which entered the game with a nine-game winning streak as part of an 11-game unbeaten streak (10-0-1), falls to 18-7-5, 9-4-4-1.
Paton finished the game with a goal and two assists while Long tallied three assists. Kristina Lavoie (Fonthill, Ontario) extended her goal-scoring streak to 11 games and Lindsey Minton (Richardson, Texas) recorded 24 saves defending the UNH goal with nine stops in both the first and third periods.
UConn goalie Alexandra Garcia was credited with 14 saves.
UNH skated to a 2-1 lead in the first period. The Wildcats took a 1-0 lead at 6:00 on the third goal of the year by Sarah Cuthbert (East Falmouth, Mass.). Shannon Sisk (Pipersville, Pa.) initiated the scoring sequence when she gathered a loose puck in the neutral zone and attacked along the left wing. After drawing a pair of defenders, Sisk slid the puck across to Cuthbert and she lifted a shot into the open right side of the net.
UConn went on the first power play of the game at 6:45, and moments later Minton made an athletic save as she shifted from the top of the crease to the left post to deny Brittany Murphy on a backdoor play.
UNH went on a power play immediately following that penalty kill and capitalized on the skater advantage to extend the advantage to 2-0 at 9:00. Paton knocked down a high puck at the right point to keep possession in the offensive zone and then she moved the puck to the high slot, where Courtney Birchard (Mississauga, Ontario) blasted a slapshot through traffic into the upper-right corner of the net. Long was also credited with an assist.
The Huskies trimmed the deficit to 2-1 at 11:22 when Lisa Stathopulos’ pass from the right corner was one-timed in the slot by Jennifer Chaisson into the upper-left corner of the cage.
With just over five minutes remaining in the first period, Lavoie led a UNH rush down the left wing. Long, cutting down the slot, fired a one-timer towards the right post that was directed aside by Garcia’s extended left leg pad.
With two minutes left in the opening stanza, UConn’s Kelly Horan blocked a shot in the high slot to create a breakaway opportunity for herself. Horan charged down the middle of the ice and, from close range, attempted to shovel a shot underneath Minton. The UNH goalie, with legs split apart on the ice, preserved the Wildcats’ one-goal lead by stoning Horan.
In the scoreless second period, Brittany Skudder (Plainview, N.Y.) generated one of UNH’s most dangerous scoring chances in a rush against two defenders. Skating down the slot, Skudder slipped the puck slightly forward and maneuvered around the defenseman to set up a quick shot that Garcia turned aside with her left leg pad.
In the 13th minute of the middle stanza, UConn generated a 2-on-1 rush in which Michelle Binning carried the puck down the left wing. She centered the puck to Cristin Allen, whose shot from the slot was blocked aside by Minton.
UConn was whistled for a major penalty at 2:31 of the third period, and UNH scored less than one minute later to build a 3-1 lead. From the right point, Paton swung the puck down low to Long, who quickly threw the puck in the low slot to Lavoie. Lavoie’s initial shot attempt was thwarted, but she maintained possession and jammed the puck inside the right post at 3:25.
With the Huskies on the power play in the eighth minute, Rebecca Hewett rifled a high shot from the slot through traffic, but Minton knocked down the puck with her glove.
At 12:30, UConn’s Stathopulos broke in 1-on-1 down the left wing. She skated around the defenseman and cut back to the low slot but was denied by Minton, who slid from the left post to the top of the crease. The home team sustained pressure and Hewett’s low one-timer from the left circle was also stopped by Minton’s leg pads.
UConn pulled Garcia in favor of an extra skater with just over two minutes remaining in the game, but Long quickly moved the puck off the dashers into the neutral zone. Paton corralled the puck behind the defense and skated from the left circle towards the open net and fired a shot into the cage to extend the advantage to 4-1 at 18:22.
New Hampshire returns to action next weekend – Feb. 13 & 14 -- with a two-game home series vs. the University of Vermont. Both games at the Whittemore Center begin at 2 p.m.