BOSTON - Senior goaltender Jen Huggon (Plymouth, Mass.), the Women's Hockey East Player of the Year, made 31 saves but the sixth-ranked and second-seeded University of New Hampshire was defeated by No. 7 and top-seeded Providence College, 1-0, in Sunday afternoon's title game of the Women's Hockey East Championships at Northeastern University's Matthews Arena.
UNH, which was playing in its 13th league championship game, ends the 2003 season with a 27-7-2 record (13-2-0 WHE) and the 27 victories are the second-highest total in the 26-year history of the program. PC ended the year with a 10-game winning streak and a 24-6-6 record.
Hilary Greaves scored the game's only goal at 6:01 of the second period in a 2-on-1 breakaway. Greaves carried the puck into the right circle and centered a pass to Kelli Halcisak, whose shot from the low slot was stopped by Huggon. The rebound trickled free towards the right post and Greaves pushed the puck into the open net.
UNH's Stephanie Jones (Kimberley, B.C.), who along with Huggon and Allison Edgar (Brigden, Ont.) was selected to the All-Tournament Team, had the best opportunity of the second period to tie the score. A pass by Randy MacMaster (Syracuse, N.Y.) sent Jones alone into the offense zone at the left point. Jones then cut to the slot and her attempt to tuck a backhanded shot inside the right post was denied by PC goalie Jana Bugden's leg pads with just under five minutes remaining in the period.
Jones also had UNH's best scoring chance in the first period when the puck caromed off the boards to her alone in the slot. Bugden charged to the top of the crease to stop the initial shot, but the puck rolled free and Jones' follow-up shot trickled through the crease and barely wide of the right post.
The score was still 1-0 when New Hampshire called time out at 14:55 of the third period and PC called a timeout with 2:58 remaining. Huggon was pulled for the final 44 seconds, and a shot by Edgar from the left point sailed through traffic in front and wide of the far post in the waning seconds.
Bugden finished the game with 13 saves to record the shutout.
UNH now has a 5-8 record in league championship games. The Wildcats won titles in 1996, 1991, 1990, 1987 and 1986 and finished as runner-up in 2003, 1999, 1998, 1997, 1995, 1993, 1992, and 1985.