Hekle records 100th career point
DURHAM, N.H. - In a game highlighted by Nicole Hekle's (Winnipeg, Manitoba) 100th career point, teammates Lindsay Hansen (Northport, N.Y.), Shannon Clement (Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario) and Jackie Wedster (Chicago, Ill.) each recorded a goal and an assist to lead the No. 1-ranked University of New Hampshire women's ice hockey team to Wednesday night's 5-1 victory against seventh-ranked Harvard University at the Whittemore Center.
UNH won its 11th consecutive game -- the team's longest winning streak since the 1988-89 season -- to improve to 16-2-0 overall. Harvard, which was defeated 3-0 this season on its home ice by the Wildcats on Dec. 10, is now 10-6-2.
UNH goaltender Melissa Bourdon (Ile Bizard, Quebec) recorded 10 saves in both the first and third periods to finish with a season-high 23 saves, many of them on shots from point-blank range. Harvard goalie Ali Boe stopped 26 shots.
Leading 2-1 at the start of the third period, the Wildcats quickly extended the advantage to three goals. Clement, who has scored a goal in four consecutive games, redirected a shot by Maggie Joyce (Norfolk, Mass.) inside the right post at 1:38. Hansen started the sequence with a pass from the right circle to Joyce at the left point. Joyce skated down to the corner and circled behind the net to the right circle, where she fired a low shot that Clement tipped.
Hansen increased UNH's advantage to 4-1 at 5:01 when she scored off a rebound at the left post. Clement, whose initial shot from the top of the crease was stopped by Boe, and Sam Faber (Mt. Sinai, N.Y.) set up the tally.
Hekle became the 34th UNH Wildcat to reach the 100-point benchmark with her seventh goal of the season -- and 38th of her career -- on a rebound in the slot at 7:48. Kacey Bellamy (Wesftield, Mass.) and Wedster, who fired a shot from the left circle, were credited with assists on the power-play goal.
The Crimson took a 1-0 lead at 6:58 of the first period, which marked just the second time this season that UNH fell behind 1-0 and the first time UNH trailed at any point since BC scored the game-winning goal in overtime on Nov. 5. Jennifer Sifers started the sequence with a shot from the right post. Bourdon stopped that shot as well as the one off the rebound by Liza Solley, but Solley followed her own shot from the top of the crease to deposit the puck in the open left side of the net.
The Wildcats responded quickly with two goals in a span of 1:46 to take a 2-1 lead. Sadie Wright-Ward (Durham, N.H.) pulled the 'Cats even at 9:05 with her 12th goal of the season. Jennifer Hitchcock (LaSalle, Ontario), the two-time reigning Hockey East Player of the Week, passed the puck to Wright-Ward on the right half-boards, and she in turn maneuvered past two defenseman in the corner to swoop to the front of the net and slide the puck past Boe. Leah Craig (Seaforth, Ontario), in her return after playing for the Canada U-22 Team at the European Air Canada Cup last week, was also credited with an assist.
A great individual effort by Wedster gave the 'Cats a 2-1 lead at 10:51 and proved to be the game-winning goal. She blocked Kati Vaughn's shot from the left point and picked up the loose puck in the neutral zone to create a 2-on-1 breakaway. Wedster kept the puck and wristed a shot from the top of the right circle inside the left post.
UNH recorded a 9-3 shot advantage in the scoreless second stanza.
New Hampshire returns to action this weekend for a two-game series at the University of Maine. The teams face off Jan. 13 at 7 p.m. and again Jan. 14 at 3 p.m. The next Wildcat home game is Jan. 20 vs. intrastate rival Dartmouth College. Game time at the Whittemore Center is 7 p.m. and tickets may be purchased at www.unhwildcats.com/tickets.