BOSTON – Lindsey Minton (Richardson, Texas) recorded 36 saves, which marked her third-highest career total, but the University of New Hampshire women's ice hockey team was defeated 8-0 by seventh-ranked Northeastern University at Matthews Arena.
UNH, which entered the game with a three-game winning streak, is now 9-14-3 overall and 3-8-2 in Hockey East. NU, which completed the season series unbeaten (2-0-1) against the Wildcats, improved to 16-5-2, 10-2-2.
Minton, who made a personal-best 39 saves Jan. 10 at fourth-ranked Boston College, made double-digit saves all three periods with 15 in the first followed by 11 and 10 in the second and third, respectively.
NU's offense was led by Casey Pickett (three goals, one assist) and Kendall Coyne (one goal, three assists). Katie MacSorley (two goals), Brittany Esposito (one goal, one assist) also tallied multiple points. Florence Schelling was credited with 17 saves, including 10 in the third period.
NU came out flying in the first period to build a 4-0 lead on a 19-1 advantage in shots. Coyne gave the Huskies a 1-0 lead at 10:28 when she collected a loose puck in the left faceoff circle and backhanded a shot into the upper-right corner of the net.
In the 13th minute, a UNH turnover behind its goal line led to a one-timer in the low slot off the stick of Kelly Wallace that Minton blocked aside. The Huskies kept possession in the offensive zone, however, and Colleen Murphy redirected Maggie DiMasi's shot into the net to give NU a 2-0 lead at 13:15.
The Huskies then netted goals 22 seconds apart – at 17:02 and 17:24 – to quickly build a 4-0 lead. In a faceoff to Minton's right, NU's Rachel Llanes drew the puck towards the slot and MacSorley swept a shot into the cage. New Hampshire was sent to the penalty box seven seconds later for checking. Moments later, Coyne saucered a pass from the right corner across the crease to Pickett. Her initial shot was stopped by Minton as she slid to the left post, but Pickett jammed the rebound into the net.
Back in the fifth minute of the game when the game was still scoreless, UNH's Kristina Lavoie (Fonthill, Ontario) released behind the defense for a breakaway opportunity. She advanced down the slot, pulled Schelling to the right and then shifted back towards the left post. The puck slipped off the blade of her stick, however, and trickled wide left at the goal line, where Lavoie lifted a shot into the side netting.
The Wildcats generated a scoring opportunity in the opening minutes of the second stanza when Nicole Gifford (Ennismore, Ontario) rushed down the slot and wristed a shot that tested Schelling. Gifford corralled the rebound and lifted a shot wide left of the cage.
Northeastern extended the lead to 5-0 at 8:55 when Pickett slipped a centering pass from deep on the left wing to the low slot, where an unmarked MacSorley scored off her own rebound.
In the 12th minute, Bryanna Farris (Carleton Place, Ontario) outletted a pass from the defensive zone to Emma Clark (East Barre, Vt.), who carried the puck through the left circle into the corner, where the trailing Farris gained possession. Farris continued behind the net to the right doorstep, where her shot went into Schelling's leg pads.
Pickett netted her second goal of the game at 14:34 when she lifted a close-range shot from the right side under the crossbar.
NU led 6-0 at the second intermission and Pickett struck again at 6:32 of the third period when she roofed a shot from the low slot. Minton had stopped Sonia St. Martin's initial slap shot from the high slot.
The Wildcats generated offensive pressure in the 14th minute and Caroline Broderick (Marblehead, Mass.) was denied twice at the left doorstep.
Esposito closed the scoring at 14:32 when she redirected Ann Doherty's shot into the net.
UNH went on its second power play of the game with 4:45 remaining and created a dangerous scoring chance when Lavoie, positioned behind the net, fed a pass to the slot and O'Neill one-timed a low, hard shot that Schelling kicked aside.
New Hampshire returns to action next weekend with a home-and-home series against the University of Vermont. The two 'Cats face off at UNH's Whittemore Center on Jan. 28 (2 p.m.) in a game that is part of the Hockey East "Skating Strides Against Breast Cancer" fund raising initiative and will be broadcast live on WBIN-TV. The series concludes Jan. 29 (2 p.m.) at UVM.