Providence, R.I. - In battle for first place in the Hockey East standings, Karen Thatcher scored two goals to propel the Providence College women's ice hockey team to Saturday afternoon's 5-1 upset of eighth-ranked University of New Hampshire at Schnieder Arena.
UNH, which entered the game with a four-game unbeaten streak (2-0-2) but had not played since a 3-3 tie at home vs. the University of Maine on Jan. 15, is now 15-5-4 overall and 7-1-2 in Hockey East. With the win, PC improved to 13-6-4 overall and moved past UNH into first place with an 8-0-1 record.
Providence took an early 1-0 lead at 5:09 of the first period when Thatcher, standing alone in front of the net, redirected Rush Zimmerman's centering pass from the right circle under the crossbar.
The Friars took that one-goal lead into the first intermission and extended the advantage to 2-0 at 4:22 of the middle stanza. At the end of a Wildcats' power play, Kelli Doolin blocked a UNH shot at the left point to generate a breakaway for herself, and she snapped a wrist shot into the upper-right corner.
The'Cats trimmed the deficit to 2-1 at 6:25 when Lindsey Caleo (Clinton Township, Mich.) generated a 2-on-1 rush with a pass through the neutral zone to Nicole Hekle (Winnipeg, Manitoba). Hekle drew the PC defenseman to the left circle and feathered a centering pass to Stephanie Jones (Kimberley, B.C.), whose close-range shot went upper-shelf.
The Friars reestablished a two-goal lead, 3-1, just 24 seconds later when Cherie Hendrickson scored on a low, screened shot from the left circle. Thatcher scored her second goal of the game off a rebound in front on the power play at 13:43 to build a 4-1 advantage.
PC netted the only third period goal on a Kathleen Smith tally at 4:30.
UNH goaltender Melissa Bourdon (Ile Bizard, Quebec) finished with 30 saves while PC counterpart Amy Thomas stopped 22 shots.
New Hampshire and Providence conclude the home-and-home weekend series Jan. 30 at UNH's Whittemore Center. Game time is 2 p.m.