BOSTON - Stephanie Jones (Kimberley, B.C.) broke a 1-1 tie with 1:33 remaining in regulation to propel the University of New Hampshire to Thursday night's 2-1 ECAC Eastern Women's Hockey League victory against fourth-ranked Northeastern University at Matthews Arena.
With the victory, UNH moves into third place in the conference standings with 25 points. Providence College, which was idle and plays a home-and-home series against Boston College this weekend, is in fourth place with 23 points. UNH, which can finish no lower than fourth and will host an ECAC quarterfinal game on March 9 (2 p.m.), concludes the regular season March 1 against Northeastern. Game time at the Whittemore Center is 7 p.m.
The Wildcats are now 18-11-4 overall and 11-6-3 in the ECAC East. Northeastern is 25-6-0, 15-5-0.
Jones netted her team-high 17th goal of the season when she wrested a shot past NU goaltender Chanda Gunn (25 saves) inside the left post from the low slot. Kristine Butt (Pembroke, Mass.) initiated UNH's 2-on-1 rush in which Debbie Bermhard (Acton, Mass.) made a centering pass to Jones from the right circle.
The Huskies pulled Gunn for the final minute, but UNH goalie Jen Huggon (Plymouth, Mass.) preserved the lead by stopping three screened slapshots from the points and another from point-blank range.
Following a scoreless first period in which NU generated a 9-6 shot advantage, Brooke Whitney gave the Huskies a 1-0 lead at 11:45 of the middle stanza. Brooke White forced a turnover in UNH's defensive zone and passed the puck ahead to Whitney. She cut past the defense from the right circle to the top of the crease, pulled the puck back to her forehand and wristed a shot into the net.
The Wildcats faced that one-goal deficit at the start of the third period, but they dominated play early in the final frame and pulled even, 1-1, at 11:32 when Kristi Shaw (Belleville, Ont.), standing in the low slot, redirected a Kristen Thomas (Wilmington, Mass.) shot into the goal. Butt was credited with her second assist.
Huggon finished with 29 saves and now has 2,067 saves in her career. She is fast approaching the school record of 2,090 held by former teammate Alicia Roberts.
The Wildcats hold a 49-27-6 record in this series and ended a string of four consecutive wins by the Huskies vs. the 'Cats.