No. 8 UNH women's ice hockey rallies past Providence, 4-3

DURHAM, N.H. - Carolyn Gordon (Petrolia, Ont.) matched her career high of three goals to propel the eighth-ranked University of New Hampshire women's ice hockey team to Saturday afternoon's 4-3 Hockey East victory against Providence College at the Whittemore Center.

UNH extended its winning streak to five games and unbeaten streak to seven (6-0-1) by improving to 13-7-3 overall and 8-0-1 in Hockey East. Providence, which is 0-7-1 in its last eight trips to the Whittemore Center, is now 7-11-2 overall and 3-3-1 in the league.

The teams entered the third period tied 1-1, then PC's Rush Zimmerman gave the Friars a 2-1 lead at 3:39 when Darlene Stephens, standing in the high slot, found Zimmerman alone at the right post.

Gordon responded at the other end of the ice 49 seconds later and it sparked a UNH flurry of three goals in a span of 5:37. Gordon tied the game at 2-2 when she redirected Kristen Thomas' (Wilmington, Mass.) slap shot from the right point. The Wildcats took their first lead of the game, 3-2, at 7:03 on a similar play - Thomas' slap shot from the high slot was redirected into the net by Nicole Hekle (Winnipeg, Man.) for a power-play goal.

Gordon completed her second career hat trick at 9:55 to extend the Wildcats' advantage to 4-2. Debbie Bernhard (Acton, Mass.) beat two Friars to a loose puck at center ice and pushed it ahead to Gordon, who fended off a defenseman to score a breakaway goal.

Providence trimmed the deficit to 4-3 at 13:00 when Ashley Payton scored into an open net off a rebound from the initial shot by Kelli Halcisak.

PC pulled goaltender Jana Bugden in favor of an extra skater for the final 55 seconds but could not get a shot on goal despite pressure in the offensive zone.

UNH goalie Melissa Bourdon (Ile Bizard, Quebec) finished with 12 saves while Bugden turned aside 30 shots.

The Friars netted a 1-0 first-period lead at 3:42 when Halcisak's shot from the right circle eluded Bourdon. They preserved that one-goal cushion until 14:58 of the second period when Gordon scored on another tipped shot, this time off the stick of Martine Garland (Toronto, Ont.).

Thomas and Lindsay Hansen (Northport, N.Y.), the reigning Hockey East Player of the Week, both finished with two assists.

This game marked the 100th meeting between the programs since UNH became a varsity program in the 1977-78 season. The Wildcats lead the all-time series with a 57-34-9 record. Of the 100 meetings, 31 have been decided by one goal.

New Hampshire and Providence College conclude the home-and-home series Feb. 1 (2 p.m.) at Schneider Arena. The next Wildcat home game is Feb. 6 vs. Northeastern. Game time at the Whittemore Center is 7 p.m.

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