Hekle nets game-tying goal with 26 seconds to play
DURHAM, N.H. -- Nicole Hekle (Winnipeg, Manitoba) recorded three points, including one on the game-tying goal with 26 seconds remaining in regulation, to lift the seventh-ranked University of New Hampshire women's ice hockey team to Saturday afternoon's 3-3 Hockey East tie against the University of Maine at the Whittemore Center.
UNH, now unbeaten in four games (2-0-2), is 15-4-4 overall and 7-0-2 in Hockey East. Maine is 11-6-3, 2-4-2.
Maine jumped out to a 2-0 lead early in the first period. Tristan Desmet's shot from the left point slipped between the legs of UNH goaltender Melissa Bourdon (Ile Bizard, Quebec) and into the net at 3:30. Minutes later, Julie Poulin's shot from the left point caromed high off Bourdon's shoulder into the net for a two-goal lead at 6:13.
The Wildcats called time out at that point and Bourdon (two saves) exited the game in favor of Britany Busa (Concord, Mass.).
New Hampshire trimmed the deficit to 2-1 at 10:11 of the opening stanza when Maine goalie Rachel Gettings stopped the initial shot by Hekle but Stephanie Jones (Kimberley, B.C.; goal, two assists) poked the loose puck into the net. Lindsey Caleo (Clinton Township, Mich.) was also credited with an assist.
Following a scoreless second period in which the 'Cats recorded a 12-5 shot advantage, UNH tied the score 2-2 26 seconds into the final frame. Standing between the faceoff circles, Hekle redirected a shot from the right point by Becky Peters (Dover, N.H.) into the net.
Maine regained the lead, 3-2, on a power-play goal at 11:01. Busa made the initial save on Laura Maddin's shot from the left point, but Kate Sunstrum collected the rebound in front and scored.
The Black Bears held that one-goal lead when Busa was pulled in favor of an extra skater with 55 seconds left in regulation. Hekle, with the assistance of Jones and Jennifer Hitchcock (LaSalle, Ontario), scored from a scrum in front of the net to tie the score, 3-3, at 19:34.
Maine called time out at 2:20 of the five-minute overtime session when UNH was whistled for a penalty. The Black Bears did not record a shot on goal, however, and the game ended in a draw.
Busa finished with 16 saves, none of which were in OT. Gettings made 12 of her 22 saves in the second period and was credited with one save in the extra session.
New Hampshire returns to action Jan. 29 (2 p.m.) at Providence College. The next Wildcat home game is Jan. 30 vs. PC with a start time of 2 o'clock at the Whittemore Center.