DURHAM, N.H. – Kristina Lavoie (Fonthill, Ontario) scored twice for the University of New Hampshire women's ice hockey team on UNH's Senior Day, but Providence College skated to a 4-2 victory Sunday afternoon at the Whittemore Center.
UNH dropped to 10-19-3 overall and 4-13-2 in Hockey East with its fifth consecutive loss. The Wildcats remain sixth in the league standings – one point ahead of the University of Connecticut and two points in front of the University of Vermont – with two games remaining in the regular season.
PC, which completed the season sweep of the Wildcats by winning its fifth game overall, is now 14-15-3, 11-7-1.
PC netminder Genevieve Lacasse stopped 19 shots. Corinne Buie (one goal, one assist) and Jennifer Friedman (two assists) tallied multiple points for the Friars.
Providence took a 1-0 lead at 13:00 when Jessica Vella skated into the left circle and threw the puck into the low slot, where it ricocheted off the skate of a Wildcat defenseman into the open right side of the cage. Kate Bacon, with the outlet pass to Vella, and Friedman were credited with assists.
The Wildcats' most dangerous scoring opportunity of the first period came in the last minute, when Jenna Lascelle (Cornwall, Ontario) charged through the right circle and saucered a pass across the low slot, but it was just out of the reach of a charging Lavoie near the left post.
The visitors took that one-goal and 9-5 shot advantages into the first intermission.
In the third minute of the second period, Vella led a 3-on-1 rush down the right side and her shot was kicked aside by Minton's right leg pad. UNH quickly counterattacked when Kristine Horn (Utica, Mich.) advanced the puck ahead to Lavoie along the left dashers. Lavoie entered the circle and centered the puck to Gifford, whose screened shot was blocked aside by Lacasse.
One minute later, Emma Clark (East Barre, Vt.) – UNH's other senior who played in her final home game at the Whittemore Center – sped past a UVM skater to gain possession in the right circle. She was dragged down while attacking the net, which forced her shot to sail wide left. The Wildcats subsequently went on their first power play of the game, but was limited to one shot during the skater advantage.
PC extended the lead to 2-0 at 10:03 of the second stanza. Minton stopped Haley Frade's initial shot from the right circle, but the rebound went the to slot and Laura Veharanta quickly snapped a shot into the net. Christie Jensen, whose pass from the defensive zone sprung Frade down the right wing, earned an assist.
Lavoie pulled the 'Cats within 2-1 at 14:38. Lascelle won a battle for the puck from behind the net and fed a pass to Gifford off the right doorstep. Her initial effort was blocked, but she retained possession and slipped a pass to the top of the crease, where Lavoie lifted a shot into the upper-right corner.
UNH entered the third period trailing by that 2-1 margin, but had 1:11 remaining on its power play and Lavoie scored her team-leading 15th goal of the season at 37 seconds when she was along the goal line to Lacasse's left and fired a shot past the goalie.
Buie put the Friars back in front, 3-2, at 4:16 when her low shot from the slot sailed towards the left post. Minton extended her right leg pad to make the save, but the puck ricocheted off the bottom of her pad and back into the goal.
Allison Micheletti reestablished a two-goal advantage of 4-2 at 9:50. Buie, from the left corner, fed a pass to Micheletti at the inner-left circle and she snapped a shot past Minton's glove into the upper-right corner.
The Wildcats called time out at 17:53 and pulled Minton in favor of an extra skater, but the 'Cats were whistled for a penalty at 18:39 in its defensive zone, which forced Minton back into the game.
New Hampshire concludes the regular season next weekend (Feb. 18-19) at the University of Maine.