Hekle records five points, including first career hat trick
BOSTON - Nicole Hekle (Winnipeg, Manitoba) recorded her first career hat trick and assisted on two other goals to lead the fifth-ranked University of New Hampshire women's ice hockey team to Saturday night's 8-2 Hockey East victory against Northeastern University at Matthews Arena.
UNH, winners of 13 straight vs. the Huskies, improved to 7-2-0 overall and 3-1-0 in Hockey East. Northeastern is now 2-10-1, 2-5-1.
Hekle was one of seven Wildcats to record a multiple-point game. Kacey Bellamy (Westfield, Mass.) had a career-high three points with a goal and two assists, and Leah Craig (Seaforth, Ontario) netted a pair of goals. Lindsay Hansen (Northport, N.Y.), Jennifer Hitchcock (LaSalle, Ontario), Nicole Goguen (Truro, Nova Scotia) and Martine Garland (Toronto, Ontario) were credited with two assists apiece.
UNH goaltender Melissa Bourdon (Ile Bizard, Quebec) made 13 saves and NU counterpart Marisa Hourihan stopped 33 shots.
The Wildcats scored a goal early and another late in the first period to take a 2-0 lead through 20 minutes. Hekle scored on a breakaway at 2:46 when she collected a pass from Amy McLaughlin (Berlin, Mass.) in the neutral zone, split the defenseman, skated down the slot and tucked a shot inside the right post. Bellamy was also credited with an assist.
Lindsey Caleo (Clinton Township, Mich.) recorded her 50th career point with a power-play goal at 16:58 to put UNH in front 2-0. Goguen skated the puck into the zone at the left point, advanced to the circle and dropped the puck back to Taylor Palazeti (Calgary, Alberta). Her cross-ice pass found Caleo alone and she shot the puck inside the right post.
The 'Cats outscored NU 3-1 in the second period to extend the advantage to 5-1. The Huskies pulled within 2-1 at 3:30 when Jessica Coppney scored into an open net off a rebound from a Colleen Sanborn shot. The 'Cats netted a pair of special teams' goals just less than two minutes apart to regain control of the game.
Hekle scored on another breakaway with a shorthanded tally - UNH's fourth such goal of the season -- at 8:08. Hitchcock intercepted a pass at center ice and slipped the puck ahead to Hekle, who maneuvered to the right side and lifted a shot into the net. Bellamy scored a power-play goal on a screened shot from the left point at 10:05. Garland and Hitchcock set up the goal.
Bellamy set up another UNH breakaway, this time to Sadie Wright-Ward (Durham, N.H.), to extend the Wildcats' lead to 5-1 with 58 seconds remaining in the middle stanza. Wright-Ward's goal was also set up by Garland.
NU trimmed the deficit to three goals, 5-2, when NU converted a turnover into an Ashley Bielawski goal at 2:16 of the third period but New Hampshire closed with three goals to cap the scoring. Hekle, with the assistance of Goguen and Hansen, completed her hat trick at 5:35. Craig, from Hekle and Hansen, extended the advantage to 7-2 at 15:56 and she struck again with 1:20 remaining. Hekle and Diana Saly (Edina, Minn.) set up the final tally.
UNH went 2-for-4 on the power play and has netted at least one power-play goal in every game this season.
New Hampshire and Northeastern face off again Nov. 22 at UNH's Whittemore Center. Game time is 7 p.m.