Hansen lifts 'Cats to share of regular season HE title
CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. - Lindsay Hansen (Northport, N.Y.) broke a 1-1 tie with 5:19 remaining in the game to lift the eighth-ranked University of New Hampshire women's ice hockey team to Sunday afternoon's 2-1 Hockey East victory against Boston College at Conte Forum.
UNH, which won the 2004 league regular season title outright, finished the 2005 season with a 13-3-4 conference record to share the crown with Providence College. The Wildcats, who improved to 21-7-6 overall, is the No. 2 seed in the Hockey East Championships and will play third-seeded University of Connecticut in a March 12 (3 p.m.) semifinal game at Walter Brown Arena. BC (10-19-4, 6-11-3) will face top-seeded Providence in the other semifinal as the fourth seed.
UNH took a 1-0 lead into the third period and Stephanie Jones (Kimberley, B.C.) was denied on a shorthanded breakaway as her backhander caromed off the left post. One minute later, BC called time out with 42 seconds remaining on its power play. The Eagles controlled possession off the ensuing face off and Kerri Sanders scored off a rebound from a scrum in front of the goalmouth to tie the score, 1-1, just 16 seconds after the timeout at 7:24.
Jessica Zerafa (Mississauga, Ontario) and Shannon Clement (Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario) combined to produce a 2-on-1 breakaway with seven minutes to play. Zerafa fended off the defender in the left circle and centered the puck between the faceoff dots, where a sliding Clement pushed the puck just wide of the left post.
Hansen recorded her second point of the game and sixth of the weekend when, standing on the left side of the crease, she redirected Jackie Wedster's (Chicago, Ill.) shot from the right point into the open left side of the net for a 2-1 Wildcat lead at 14:41. Diana Saly (Edina, Minn.), with a pass across the blue line to Wedster, was also credited with an assist.
The Eagles went on a power play shortly thereafter, but the Wildcats' Jennifer Hitchcock (LaSalle, Ontario) had the best scoring opportunity as she had the team's second shorthanded breakaway of the period. Her backhanded shot from close range was denied by BC goaltender Alison Quandt.
With four minutes remaining, UNH goaltender Melissa Bourdon (Ile Bizard, Quebec) stoned Sarah Feldman from close range and Kerri Sanders' shot off the rebound sailed wide right.
BC pulled Quandt in favor of an extra skater with 55 seconds to play, but UNH did an effective job of keeping the puck out of the zone and Bourdon stopped the only shot she saw the rest of the way to preserve the lead.
Bourdon finished with 17 saves, including nine in the third period. Quandt stopped 26 shots.
The Wildcats quickly took a 1-0 lead on Nicole Hekle's (Winnipeg, Manitoba) 19th goal of the season just 32 seconds after the game's opening faceoff. Leah Craig (Seaforth, Ontario) recorded her fourth assist of the weekend as her centering pass from behind the net was tipped by Hansen to Hekle, who fired a low shot into the net from the low slot.
BC was denied by Bourdon on a couple of close-range shots in the opening frame, including Deborah Spillane's redirection between her legs from the top of the crease.
The teams skated to a scoreless second stanza in which UNH recorded a 10-3 shot advantage. The Wildcats went 0-for-2 on the power play in the period as they controlled the puck in the offensive zone for almost the entire four minutes and created dangerous chances but could not score.