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HAMDEN, Conn. (December 29, 2007) - Sophomore Dominique Thibault (L'Orignal, Ont.) netted two goals to lead the No. 9/9 University of Connecticut women's ice hockey team past Quinnipiac University 3-2 on Saturday night in the TD Banknorth Sports Center.
The Huskies got on the board first with a power-play goal at 7:38 in the first period. Senior Jaclyn Hawkins (Manotick, Ont.) dumped the puck in front of the net for Thibault who then flipped it to junior Samantha Reid (Innisfil, Ont.), who found the back of the net for just the second time this season. With the assists, both Thibault and Hawkins improve their tally to 13 on the year.
Quinnipiac answered back as sophomore Erika Bolognino fired her third goal of the season past Husky goaltender Jennie Bellonio (Guilford, Conn.) at 10:26 in the first period of play to tie the score.
After the opening period, the Bobcats led the Huskies in shots on goal with an 11-9 advantage. Both Bellonio and Quinnipiac goaltender Jamie Miller made nine stops in the first 20 minutes of play.
The second period remained scoreless heading into the tenth minute of play, helped by two quick saves in the fourth minute by Bellonio on two Bobcat shots fired from the blue line. Bellonio added some more momentum to the Husky defense as Quinnipiac controlled the puck for a majority of the second period and continuously fired shots at the goal that Bellonio was able to keep from going into the net.
The Bobcats had a man-up on the Huskies as co-captain Bridget King (Paxton, Mass.) was called for holding and was sent into the penalty box for two minutes. Quinnipiac's Trudy Reyns and Bolognino didn't waste any time as they relayed a pass to Nicolette Leone, who received the puck right in front of the blue line, and was able to put a slap shot past the Husky defense and into the back of the net off the glove of Bellonio. The go-ahead goal came at 15:43 in the second period.
But UConn stood their ground and never hesitated, as back-to-back penalties were called on the Bobcats, which put the Huskies in great offensive position. Thibault netted her 13th goal of the season and her first power-play goal on the year with the Huskies' second goal of the game as the sophomore tied the scored at two with less than two minutes to go in the period. Reid picked up her second point of the night as the junior and freshman Jennifer Chaisson (Cumberland, Ont.) combined for the assists on the play.
Thibault netted her second goal of the game and 14th of season at 7:05 in the third period as she circled the goal cage and slipped the puck past Miller in goal to put the Huskies up 3-2. Chaisson and Hawkins were both credited with the assists on the game winner.
Thibault finished the night with three points (2g, 1a) while Reid (1g, 1a), Hawkins (0g, 2a) and Chaisson (0g, 2a) tallied two points a piece.
Bellonio earned the win in goal as she recorded 24 saves for the Huskies. Quinnipiac's Miller made 23 stops in goal for the Bobcats.
UConn will face Yale in Sunday night's Nutmeg Classic championship game at 7:00 p.m. right after the Classic consolation game featuring Niagara and host Quinnipiac at 3:00 p.m. in the TD Banknorth Sports Center.