DURHAM, N.H. - Melissa Bourdon (Ile Bizard, Quebec) recorded her fourth shutout of the season with a 17-save performance to lead the ninth-ranked University of New Hampshire women's ice hockey team to Saturday afternoon's 3-0 Hockey East victory against the University of Maine at the Whittemore Center.
UNH and Maine entered the game tied atop the Hockey East standings and the Wildcats claimed sole possession of first place by improving to 5-0-1 in the league and 10-7-3 overall. Maine, which was defeated 4-1 by the 'Cats on Friday night, is now 7-9-3 overall and 4-3-1 in Hockey East. Bourdon, who entered the game ranked No. 6 in the nation in both goals-against-average and save percentage, made seven of her 17 saves in the second period. She has allowed just three goals and has two shutouts in the past four games. In 12 games this season, Bourdon has a 1.50 GAA, .939 save percentage and four shutouts.
Following a scoreless first period in which New Hampshire generated a 10-4 shot advantage, Martine Garland (Toronto, Ont.) gave the Wildcats a 1-0 lead at 6:31 of the middle stanza when her shot from the right point sailed through a screen and into the net. Stephanie Jones (Kimberley, B.C.) and Carolyn Gordon (Petrolia, Ont.) were credited with assists.
A Wildcat flurry in front of the net gave the home team a 2-0 lead at 16:44 of the second period. Initial shots from close range by Rebecca Paul (Sudbury, Ont.) and Lindsay Hansen (Northport, N.Y.) were blocked by Maine goaltender Lara Smart, but Lindsey Caleo (Clinton Township, Mich.) slid the puck into the open right side of the net off the second rebound.
Maine came within inches of producing a goal when an odd-skater rush resulted in Brigette Laflamme's shot from the left circle ricocheting off the post. In the third period, Karen Droog was denied on a shorthanded breakaway with six minutes remaining when Bourdon stood her ground and blocked a low shot by squeezing her leg pads together.
Hansen, with the assistance of Paul and Kristen Thomas (Wilmington, Mass.) scored an empty-net goal with 26 seconds remaining to secure the victory and first place.
For the second consecutive game, Smart recorded double digits in saves each period and finished with 33.
New Hampshire, which extended its unbeaten streak to four games (3-0-1), returns to action at home Jan. 23 vs. Boston College. Game time at the Whittemore Center is 7 p.m.