UNH, the tourney’s third seed by virtue of a 4-2 league record, improves to 13-4 overall to advance to the America East title game for the sixth time in seven years.
UVM, which ended a 13-game losing streak to the Wildcats with a 9-8 win at home earlier this month, ends the year with an 8-9 record; the Catamounts were the tourney’s second seed with a 5-1 league record.
Shaunna Kaplan (
UVM was led offensively by Emilie Clark and Megan MacDonald, both of whom netted two goals. Starting goalie Meaghan Hanley allowed 10 goals in 41:04; she made four saves and was charged with the loss. Ali Trainor stopped three of eight shots on goal in the last 18:56.
With the scored tied 4-4 at halftime, the opening draw was caught by Kaplan at the offensive restraining line. With only Hanley between her and the goal, Kaplan raced down the middle and fired a shot into the goal to give UNH a 5-4 lead. The Wildcats, who won only three of nine first-half draw controls, won possession on the ensuing draw control and converted it into a 6-4 advantage at 28:51 when Hardy cut down the middle of the fan and shot low inside the left post.
UVM pulled within 6-5 less than one minute later, however, as
Milley, who was named to the America East All-Conference Team the eve before the tourney, preserved
The Wildcats then extended its lead to 7-5 at 24:01 when Piotrkowski, from behind the net, connected with Crook in the middle and her shot sailed inside the left post.
Von Bargen, another First Team honoree, then scored four consecutive goals – the first three in a span of 3:22 – to push UNH’s advantage to 11-5 with 7:09 to play. From the left wing, Piotrkowski made an entry pass to Von Bargen deep on the left side for the score.
UVM called time out at that juncture, but UNH maintained momentum behind Von Bargen’s onslaught. She struck again at 19:52 when she cut down the right side of the fan, suddenly stopped near the right post and contorted her body to lift a backhand into the net.
Milley then made three saves in the next six minutes to keep the Catamounts at arm’s length, and Tori Wasson’s apparent goal on a free-position shot at 9:02 was disallowed because of an illegal crosse.
Von Bargen scored her fifth goal of the game – 36th of the season – at 7:09 to give UNH an 11-5 advantage. Hardy’s third tally of the day – her 50th of the year – capped the Wildcats’ six-goal run to extend the differential to 12-5 at 6:05.
Crook responded with a tally 1:24 later by cutting from the left wing to the front of the net to make the score 13-6, and Maureen Wark (Yarmouth, Maine), off a pass from Kaplan, scored from point-blank range on the left side just 20 seconds later (at 2:51). Kaplan’s unassisted goal with one second on the clock closed the scoring.
In a turnover-filled first half in which the Wildcats struggled to maintain possession in the offensive zone but the Catamounts struggled to clear the ball beyond midfield, UNH committed nine turnovers and UVM had 10.
Von Bargen opened the game scoring at 26:46 on a free position shot. The Catamounts then took a 2-1 lead – their only lead of the game – on tallies by Alison Haigh at 26:10 and MacDonald at 24:52.
Moira Talbot (
MacDonald tied the score, 3-3, at 17:03, then Deb Dale (East Northport, N.Y.) gave UNH a 4-3 lead at 15:23 by cutting from the left side to the middle of the fan and depositing a shot inside the right side of the net.
NOTES: The 13 wins is tied for the second-highest single-season total; the 1987 ‘Cats also finished with 13 victories and the 2004 team holds the benchmark of 15 … Hardy extended her goal-scoring streak to 14 games … Kaplan extended her point-scoring streak to 16 games … Von Bargen extended her goal-scoring streak to 10 … UNH has a 3-0 lifetime record vs. UVM in the America East tourney (all semifinal games) … UNH has a 1-4 record in America East title games, and all five games have been against Boston University.