Dartmouth edges Mercyhurst, 4-3, in tourney opener
DURHAM, N.H. -- Nicole Hekle (Winnipeg, Manitoba) scored two goals, including the game-winning tally, to lead the seventh-ranked University of New Hampshire women's ice hockey team to Saturday afternoon's 4-1 victory against Minnesota State University in opening day action of the 2004 UNH Thanksgiving Tournament presented by Ocean National.
UNH improved to 9-1-1 with its second consecutive victory. Minnesota State, which entered the game with a six-game unbeaten streak of 3-0-3, is now 3-6-4. In the tournament opener, second-ranked Dartmouth College edged ninth-ranked Mercyhurst College, 4-3.
In addition to Hekle, Lindsey Caleo (Clinton Township, Mich.) and Taylor Palazeti (Calgary, Alberta) both recorded two points with a goal and an assist and Lindsay Hansen (Northport, N.Y.) registered two assists.
Melanie Salatino, with the assistance of Kristina Bunker and Amanda Stohr, gave the Mavericks a 1-0 lead just 23 seconds into the game. Deep in the right circle, Salatino picked up the loose puck off her own blocked shot and fired a shot inside the near post.
The Wildcats pulled even at 4:01 of the opening stanza on the first of their two power-play goals of the game. Caleo scored from the left doorstep and assists went to Hansen and Palazeti. Hekle gave the 'Cats a lead they would not relinquish, 2-1, at 7:55 when she redirected a slap shot from the left point by Andi Hanley (Riva, Md.). Hanley and Diana Saly (Edina, Minn.) were credited with assists.
UNH took that 2-1 lead into the second period and Palazeti's power-play shot from the left circle extended the advantage to 3-1 at 11:57 of the middle frame. Leah Craig (Seaforth, Ontario), who made the crossing pass to Palazeti, and Hansen set up the goal.
Hekle's second goal, set up by Caleo's pass from behind the net, closed the scoring at 10:37 of the third period. Jessica Zerafa (Mississauga, Ontario) initiated the scoring sequence from the right corner with a pass to Caleo.
After surrendering the early goal, UNH goaltender Melissa Bourdon (Ile Bizard, Quebec) held MSU scoreless the rest of the way with nine saves. Mavericks' goalie Brit Kehler was credited with 24 saves, including 10 in the middle stanza.
* * * * *
In the first game, Mercyhurst pulled goaltender Desirae Clark with 1:17 remaining and Jill Nugent scored six seconds later to tie the score, 3-3, at 18:49 of the third period. Dartmouth's Tiffany Hagge roofed a backhander into the net from close range at 19:22 to lift the Big Green to victory. DC goalie Christine Capuano made 23 saves and MC's Desirae Clark stopped 16 shots.
Dartmouth took a 1-0 lead on a shorthanded goal by Gillian Apps at 9:07. Hagge's first goal of the game, this time on a power play, extended the advantage to 2-0 at 8:19 of the middle stanza. MC's Stephanie Jones scored 59 seconds later, however, to trim the deficit to 2-1. Dartmouth's Cheryl Muranko (at 12:38) and Mercyhurst's Chrissy Yule (17:41) also netted second-period goals to make the score 3-2 at the end of two.
* * * * *
The Ocean National 2004 UNH Thanksgiving Tournament concludes Nov. 28 at the Whittemore Center with Dartmouth vs. Minnesota State (1 p.m.) and UNH vs. Mercyhurst (4 p.m.). Both games will be broadcast live on USCHO.com.