Providence, R.I. - The women's ice hockey team defeated No. 8/9 Connecticut, 5-3, on Sunday afternoon at Schneider Arena. Freshman Jean O'Neill (Straffoed, Pa.) scored the game winner while PC was on the power-play at 8:29 of the second. Providence now stands at 13-12-3 (8-5-2 HE) while Connecticut falls to 18-5-5 (9-3-3 HE).
The Friars pressured the Huskies for much of the first period and that pressure paid off at 12:59 when junior Mari Pehkonen (Tampere, Finland) took advantage of a turnover in the UConn zone and scored her fourth goal of the season. Senior Kathleen Smith (Waterloo, Ontario) gave the Friars a 2-0 lead at 17:43 when she potted her team-leading 13th goal of the season and her fifth on the power play. Smith collected a Brittany Simpson (Barrie, Ontario) pass at the right wing and skated into the circle before firing a wrist shot over the left shoulder of UConn goalie Brittany Wilson. The Friars finished with a 16-1 shot advantage in the first 20 minutes.
However, the Huskies wasted little time in the second period as they scored on the power play just 23 seconds into the period to cut the lead to 2-1. Samantha Reid setup Amy Hollstein who fired a shot from that slot that beat PC goalie Danielle Ciarletta (Blaine, Minn.). The Friars responded at 3:50 and regained their two goal edge (3-1) as senior Cherie Hendrickson (Boxford, Mass.) fired a shot from the left circle that glanced off the right post and into the net for her seventh tally of the season. Providence scored their second power-play goal of the game at 8:29 to gain a 4-1 advantage. O'Neill re-directed a pass in front and past Wilson for her seventh goal of the season. The Huskies then scored two power-play goals to cut the lead to 4-3. Reid tallied her fifth goal of the season at 12:32, while Nicole Tritter recorded her 10th tally at 17:48. However, the Friars sealed the win as freshman Alyse Ruff (Tualatin, Ore.) scored an empty netter with 35 seconds remaining, with an assist going to Pehkonen.
Ciarletta finished with 14 saves for the Friars, while Wilson stopped 25 shots for the Huskies.
The Friars return to action with a home-and-home series versus Northeastern next weekend. Both games will be part of Hockey East's annual Skating Strides event, a two day fundraiser to raise both dollars and awareness in the fight against breast cancer. The first game will take place Saturday, February 16 in Boston, Mass. while PC will host NU Sunday, February 17 in Providence, R.I. Both games will begin at 2:00 p.m.