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BURLINGTON, Vt. -- Northeastern goalie Leah Sulyma made 26 saves as the Huskies nipped Vermont, 2-1, in a key women's Hockey East game Saturday afternoon at Gutterson Fieldhouse. Sulyma made 10 stops in the deciding third period as NU (7- 5-2, 4-3-0) held off a late Catamounts surge. Vermont, which topped sixth-ranked Boston University Friday, falls to 4-12-1 overall and 2-5-0 in league play.
"I really liked our third period when we played with intelligence and a lot of energy to get back into the game," said Vermont coach Tim Bothwell. "Our power play wasn't sharp but once again our fourth line was very effective. Although this is a tough loss for us to take against a team that we will be battling with for a playoff berth, we are determined in our goal to reach the postseason. There is a lot of hockey left and this weekend we proved we are still in a good spot."
Trailing 2-0 heading into the final period, the Catamounts fought back with several good scoring chances. Early on, Hannah Westbrook (Laramie, Wyoming) had a good bid go wide and midway through the period, Sulyma made good stops on Sarah Smiddy (Grand Rapids, Mich.) and Celeste Doucet (Memramcook, New Brunswick).
The Cats increased the pressure late and a drive from just inside the blueline by Peggy Wakeham (Bay Roberts, Newfoundland) found its way past Sulyma with 1:50 remaining. Kyleigh Palmer (Winnipeg, Manitoba) and Teddy Fortin (Brunswick, Maine) picked up assists on Wakeham's fourth goal of the season. With goaltender Ashley Walenty (Lake Placid, N.Y.) on the bench for an extra attacker, UVM pushed for the equalizer and Palmer's shot from the slot to tie with 10 seconds left was tipped over the goal by one of the Huskies.
Northeastern took the lead on a goal by Kristi Kehoe at 16:52 of the first period. Just 52 seconds into the middle stanza, Stephanie Gavronsky made it 2-0 as her shot from the left point beat a screened Walenty.
UVM outshot NU, 27-25, as Walenty, who made 34 stops in the upset of BU Friday, was solid for the second straight game finishing with 23 saves. Each team was scoreless in three power play opportunities with only six penalties whistled in the hard-fought contest.
A sophomore defender, Wakeham has scored three goals in the last five games and she is now tied for third among Hockey East blueliners with 11 points. Fortin, who scored twice in Friday's victory, now leads the Cats with 12 points while Palmer, a freshman, has 10.
A photo gallery of Saturday's game will be available on www.UVMathletics.com.
Vermont takes lengthy break for exams and the holidays and its next game will be against Dartmouth on Tuesday, December 30 at 7 p.m. at Gutterson Fieldhouse. Admission is free for all UVM students (with a valid ID) and Rally's Round Up members for all regular season home games. For ticket information please call 1-866-4-CAT-TIX or log on to www.UVMathletics.com.