Providence, R.I. (February 13, 2009) - In a crucial Hockey East contest between the first and fourth place teams, the Friars suffered a 3-2 defeat in Schneider Arena. With the loss, Providence now stands at 16-13-2 (11-6-1 HE) while New Hampshire improves to 18-5-5 (13-2-3 HE). The loss puts PC in a tie for fourth in Hockey East with Connecticut. The third and fourth place teams host the quarterfinals of the Hockey East Tournament.
The Friars came out for the opening face off and had the better of the early play, putting five shots on frame in the first five minutes compared to just one by the Wildcats.
At the end of one period, the score remained tied, 0-0, with both teams putting eight shots on frame.
After a scoreless first 20 minutes, both teams earned several scoring chances with New Hampshire opening the scoring just 1:41 into the second period. The Wildcats came crossed the Providence blue line with a two-on-one advantage with Jenn Wakefield carrying the puck. Wakefield slid the puck by the PC defender onto the stick of Angela Taylor. Taylor's outstretched backhand beat PC netminder Danielle Ciarletta (Blaine, Minn.) to give UNH a 1-0 lead.
At 9:17, UNH came into the PC zone with a four-on-two advantage but Courtney Birchard's wrist shot towards the top right corner was denied by a quick glove save from Ciarletta. UNH would double their lead with a short-handed tally at 15:20. The Wildcats, on another two-on-one rush, executed a perfect give and go between Kelly Paton and Sam Faber before Faber put home a backhanded shot to give UNH the 2-0 lead.
PC closed the deficit to one at 17:02 when sophomore Jean O'Neill (Strafford, Pa.) sent a pass from the right face off circle through the slot to classmate Amber Yung (Rockville, Va.) the puck bounced off her skate directly into the path of freshman Abby Gauthier (Lynn, Mass.) who put home her second goal of the season. O'Neill and Yung earned their third and sixth assists of the season, respectively.
At the end of two, Ciarletta had denied 14 Wildcat shots while UNH's Lindsey Minton made 13 saves.
UNH would increase the lead to two at 3:27 when Sam Faber came in on Ciarletta before stickhandling through the right face off circle and putting a backhand through the five hole to give UNH a 3-1 lead. Providence made it 3-2 at 16:40 when Leigh Riley (Lexington, Mass.) sent a pass to Alyse Ruff (Tualatin, Ore.) at center ice, Ruff possessed the puck into the lower right corner before finding freshman Kate Bacon (Chanhassen, Minn.) at the right post. Bacon jammed home her seventh goal of the season while Ruff and Riley earned their eighth and second assists. Providence would fall short in the end as the game finished with UNH ahead, 3-2.
Ciarletta finished the game with 20 saves but sees her record fall to 2-4-2 on the season while Minton improves to 6-0-0 after stopping 20 Friar shots.
The two teams will travel north to UNH for a 7:00 p.m. contest at the Whittemore center tomorrow, February 14.