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BURLINGTON, VT. - Providence College women's hockey (15-10-9, 11-5-5-3 HE) defeated the University of Vermont (10-22-1, 5-15-1-0 HE), 5-2. With the victory today and the 1-0 shootout victory by Northeastern over UConn earlier in the day, Providence wins the regular season championship and will host the 2010 Hockey East Tournament on Saturday/Sunday, March 6-7. Junior Jean O'Neill (Strafford, Pa.) notched a goal and two assists and sophomore defender Christie Jensen (Delta, B.C.) scored the game winner midway through the third period. Sophomore Genevieve Lacasse (Scarborough, Ontario) made 14 saves in the game.
With the games from earlier today completed, the Friars needed a victory over UVM to claim its third regular season championship title and earn the right to host the 2010 Hockey East Tournament. After a tense second period in which Vermont scored two goals to make it 2-2, Providence answered back in the third with three goals to seal the regular-season crown.
Providence took the lead at 11:11 of the first when O'Neill created a turnover on the left side of the UVM net. Freshman Jessica Cohen (Anchorage, Alaska) picked up the loose puck and lifted it over the sprawled UVM goaltender for her sixth goal of the season. The assist was O'Neill's 15th.
PC made it 2-0 at 15:41 when sophomore Ashley Cottrell (Sterling Heights, Mich.) picked up a pass off the right boards from freshman Jessica Vella (Pickering, Ontario) and beat a pair of UVM defenders before sliding the puck through the five-hole of UVM goaltender Kristen Olychuck. The goal was her team-leading 14th of the season. Sophomore Jennifer Friedman (San Gabriel, Calif.) started the play with a pass to Vella as both players earned their seventh assists on the goal.
Providence outshot Vermont, 10-6, in the opening 20 minutes and went into the locker room ahead, 2-0.
Vermont came out for the second and held the puck in the PC zone for the opening three minutes before Erin Wente lifted a shot into the top-right corner to make it 2-1 at 3:12. The Catamounts continued the pressure to even the score at 7:06 when Chelsea Rapin finished a two-on-one UVM rush. The Friars outshot UVM, 7-4, and the two teams finished the second period tied, 2-2.
Jensen slammed home the game winner at 7:31 of the third period. Jean O'Neill cycled the puck along the right wall to sophomore Kate Bacon (Chanhassen, Minn.). Bacon fed a pass from the right corner into the slot for Jensen to step up and fire a slap-shot from the high slot into the top left corner for her second goal of the season. Bacon earned her sixth assist with O'Neill tallying her second assist of the game and 16th on the year.
Vella added an insurance tally at 8:16 when she tipped in a shot from senior Captain Colleen Martin (Woburn, Mass.) to make it 4-2. The goal was Vella's fifth of the year with Martin earning her eighth assist. Alyse Ruff also assisted on the play, earning her 15th of the season. O'Neill would go on to add an empty-net goal, her 13th on the year, at 18:48 left to seal the victory.
Providence will have a week off as they wait to see who they face in the Hockey East Tournament following the quarterfinals played on February 27 and 28. The winners of the quarterfinal round will come to Schneider Arena in Providence for the semifinals and finals on March 6 and 7.