PRINCETON, N.J. – Haley Breedlove (Plano, Texas) scored a third-period goal but the University of New Hampshire women's ice hockey team couldn't overcome a three-goal deficit and lost 3-1 to Princeton University at Hobey Baker Arena on Friday afternoon.
UNH, which entered the game with a two-game unbeaten streak, is now 6-5-2. Princeton extended its win streak to four games to improve to 5-2-0.
New Hampshire goalie Vilma Vaattovaara (Veikkola, Finland) made 17 saves and Tigers' counterpart Kimberly Newell stopped 24 shots, including 13 in the third period. PU, which scored three goals within 2:05 spanning the second and third periods, was led offensively by Denna Laing and Olivia Mucha, both of whom recorded a goal and an assist.
The teams skated to a scoreless first period in which the Wildcats recorded a 6-2 shot advantage. UNH went on the power play 1:21 into the game and attempted five shots, but three were wide of the cage and two others were blocked by skaters. The 'Cats gained another power play at 10:26, but this time Newell kept the visitors off the scoreboard with saves against Jenna Lascelle (Cornwall, Ontario), Megan Armstrong (Edina, Minn.) and Heather Kashman (Edmonton, Alberta).
Princeton had its first power play opportunity at 12:51 and Vaattovaara turned aside the only shot she saw, which was off Jaimie McDonell's stick. On the Tigers' next skater advantage at 15:32, Sally Butler was denied by Vaattovaara.
The home team had another power play at 1:37 of the second period, but this time New Hampshire did not allow a shot. Vaattovaara then preserved the scoreless tie with saves against Mucha in the seventh minute and Butler midway through the stanza.
UNH was whistled for tripping at 12:20. Kelsey Koelzer tested Vaattovaara, but the sophomore goalie had the answer. The Wildcats' penalty kill was successful, and moments later Butler and Rose Alleva were also denied by Vaattovaara.
New Hampshire responded at the other end of the ice with shots on goal by Caroline Broderick (Marblehead, Mass.) and Breedlove, but Newell stopped those bids to keep the game scoreless.
Princeton took a 1-0 lead at 18:54 of the second period on a goal by Mucha. The Tigers, who recorded a 7-5 second-period shot advantage, quickly extended the lead to 3-0 with two goals in the opening minute of the final frame. Ali Pankowski scored 25 seconds after the period's opening faceoff and Laing scored 34 seconds later.
Newell preserved that three-goal advantage midway through the third when she turned aside successive shots by Hitchcock, Breedlove and Hannah Armstrong (Keswick, Ontario).
UNH pulled within 3-1 at 17:07 when Breedlove, with the assistance of Hitchcock and Mork, scored her second goal of the season.
Princeton was sent to the penalty box for interference 12 seconds later, and UNH pulled Vaattovaara in favor of an extra skater to give the 'Cats a two-skater advantage. The Wildcats sustained pressure and fired six shots – two were off target, two were blocked by Tigers and Newell stopped the other two – before Laing's shot hit the pipe.
The power play expired with 41 seconds remaining, but then Nicole Gifford (Ennismore, Ontario) was turned away by Newell and then the UNH captain struck a shot wide. The 'Cats were called for tripping with 15 seconds remaining as their comeback fell short.
UNH recorded a 14-11 shot advantage in the third period and finished with the 25-20 edge overall. The Wildcats were 0-for-4 on the power play and Princeton went 0-for-6.
New Hampshire returns to action Nov. 16 (3 p.m.) at Quinnipiac University. The Wildcats' next home game is Nov. 24 (2 p.m.) against Boston University for Blue Out the Whitt.