NEW HAMPSHIRE UPENDS NORTHEASTERN, 3-1, TO SPLIT WEEKEND SERIES
Junior forward Arielle O'Neill posts goal and assist for Wildcats
BOSTON - New Hampshire (7-10-1, 4-3-1) used two power play goals and 31 saves from Jenn Gilligan to knock off the No. 9/9 Northeastern women's ice hockey team (9-5-2, 5-4-1) on Sunday afternoon at Matthews Arena. Kendall Coyne scored the lone goal for NU while Chloe Desjardins 14 saves.
NU held a significant 32-17 edge in shots for the game and was 0-of-3 on the power play, snapping a string of five straight games with a power play tally. The Wildcats were 2-of-4 on the man advantage and won 29-of-54 draws.
The Huskies came out flying in the first period, outshooting UNH 13-5 and taking a 1-0 lead on a goal from Coyne, but a late tally from Nicole Gifford sent the teams into the locker rooms deadlocked at 1-1.
Eight minutes into the contest, Coyne took a feed from Colleen Murphy in the neutral zone, sped down the right side of the ice before cutting in towards goal and firing a low shot through the pads of Gilligan for her second goal of the weekend and 14th of the season.
With Northeastern in the penalty box following a questionable high sticking call, the Wildcats leveled the score at one with 1:40 left in the frame. Jessica Hitchcock began the play by skating down the left wall and threw the puck out in front of the crease. It then redirected off the stick of Hannah Armstrong before Gifford finished off the play for only the fourth power play goal against NU all season.
Despite shots being even at 9-9, New Hampshire capitalized on its chances as the Wildcats buried two goals to take a 3-1 lead through 40 minutes of play. The first came less than four minutes into the stanza when Arielle O'Neill picked up a loose puck in the defensive zone, skated it all the way into Northeastern territory and sent a slap shot on goal that went off the pad of Desjardins and into the net for O'Neill's third of the season.
The Huskies nearly tied the game midway through the frame when Brittany Esposito stole the puck from behind the cage and dished to Kelly Wallace in the slot for two chances that Gilligan turned aside.
New Hampshire potted its second power play tally of the afternoon with 3:15 left in the period when Sara Carlson banged home her fifth goal of the season with Desjardins out of position. After Alexis Crossley sent a shot in from the point O'Neill deflected it off a body in front where Carlson, with Desjardins committed to the right side of the net, swiftly put it past the sophomore netminder.
Later the frame, Tori Hickel saved a goal when she picked the puck off of the goal line following a shot from Kristina Lavoie.
Northeastern put 10 shots on goal during the final 20 minutes in an effort to crack into the deficit, but could not sneak any past Gilligan. Rachel Llanes blocked a shot in the defensive zone with about 10 minutes left in regulation and went in on a two-on-one with Coyne, but Coyne could not get a handle on the pass. Casey Pickett also had a chance late on the doorstep, but Gilligan was there to make the save.
The Huskies will be back in action on Wednesday with they host Dartmouth for a 7 p.m. puck drop at Matthews Arena.