#2 WOMEN'S HOCKEY ROLLS INTO HOCKEY EAST TITLE GAME WITH 8-0 WIN

KAYLEY HERMAN
BOXSCORE

STORRS, Conn.Sam Faber (Mt. Sinai, N.Y.), Micaela Long (South Boston, Mass.) and Jenn Wakefield (Pickering, Ontario) scored two goals apiece to lead the second-ranked University of New Hampshire women’s ice hockey team to an 8-0 victory against Boston University in Saturday’s semifinal game of the 6th Annual Women’s Hockey East Championship Tournament at the University of Connecticut’s Mark Edward Freitas Ice Forum.

UNH, which went undefeated in league play (20-0-1) to earn the tourney’s top seed, extended its winning streak to 11 games and unbeaten streak to 17 (16-0-1) to improve to 31-3-1. The Wildcats, winners of the last two league tournament titles, will be making their fifth championship game appearance Sunday (12:30 p.m.) against Providence College (5-1 win vs. UConn in the other semifinal). BU ends the season at 15-17-3.

Wakefield, the Hockey East Mission Rookie of the Year and Hockey East Scoring Champion, also tallied an assist for a total of three points. Courtney Birchard (Mississauga, Ontario) also had three points with a goal and two assists. Kacey Bellamy (Westfield, Mass.), Steph Holmes (Rye, N.Y.) and Maggie Joyce (Hudson, Ohio) each tallied two assists.

UNH’s Kayley Herman (Weyburn, Saskatchewan), Hockey East’s ITECH Goaltending Champion, made 14 saves to record her eighth shutout of the season. BU starting goalie Allyse Wilcox, the Hockey East First-Team All-Star, was charged with the loss; she surrendered six goals and made 19 saves in two periods. Melissa Haber stopped nine of 11 third-period shots.

The Wildcats took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission with Long’s 4-on-4 goal at 9:55. On a right-side faceoff in the neutral zone just outside BU’s defensive zone, Wakefield won the puck back to Joyce, who passed it across the ice to Long. She entered the offensive zone at the left point and charged in through the circle past a pair of defenders to beat Wilcox.

Herman faced only five first-period shots but was challenged on those BU scoring opportunities. In the 13th minute, Jonnie Bloemers charged the net and was denied at the right post off a feed from behind the net. With 90 seconds remaining in the opening stanza and the Terriers on the power play, BU’s Lauren Cherewyk gained the puck off a faceoff and fired a shot from the right circle that Herman denied with her glove.

New Hampshire netted five goals in the second period and quickly broke the game open with tallies 36 seconds apart at 1:17 and 1:53. Birchard began the flurry with a power-play goal when her shot from the left circle caromed off a defender in front and inside the far post. Holmes, with her pass from behind the net, and Kelly Paton (Woodstock, Ontario), who moved the puck around from the right corner, set up the tally. Wakefield then one-timed Holmes’ centering pass from the right corner past Wilcox. Joyce was credited with her second assist of the game.

BU called time out at that point and moments later a UNH turnover led to a rush by Gina Kearns, whose shot from the right circle was snared by Herman’s glove.

Leah Craig (Seaforth, Ontario) extended the Wildcats’ lead to 4-0 at 8:32. Julia Marty (Nussbaumen, Switzerland) kept the puck in the offensive zone at the right point and chipped the puck ahead to Bellamy, who in turn moved the puck ahead to Craig. Craig cut in from the right circle and lifted a close-range shot into the upper-right corner.

UNH was whistled for a penalty at 14:55 and 15:11 to give the Terriers a two-skater advantage for 1 minute, 45 seconds, but Herman turned aside Cherewyk at the right post and then again on a screened shot from the high slot. The Wildcats’ penalty kill unit – a perfect 7-for-7 in the game – effectively kept the Terriers on the perimeter the rest of the power-play opportunity and UNH scored 27 seconds later to extend its advantage to 5-0.

Faber corralled the puck along the dashers in the defensive zone and, with a pair of BU defensemen backing off to cover Faber’s passing angle, skated across the ice in the neutral zone to cross the blue line at the left point unmarked. Faber then sliced to the slot and tucked a close-range shot between Wilcox’s legpads at 17:38 to create the five-goal differential.

Long netted her second goal of the game 35 seconds later (at 18:13) when she scored off Birchard’s centering pass; Bellamy was also credited with an assist.

Faber scored her 24th goal of the season on a shorthanded rush at 7:56 of the third period when she split a pair of defenders in the neutral zone to break in alone on Haber and beat her after stickhandling down the slot.

Wakefield netted her team-leading 25th goal with a power-play goal at 16:12 to give the ‘Cats an 8-0 lead. Birchard and Diana Saly (Edina, Minn.) assisted on the tally. It marked Saly’s first point of the season.

UNH extended its unbeaten streak vs. Hockey East teams, including postseason, to 41 games (38-0-3). The Wildcats have won five straight games in the Hockey East tournament and are 7-3 in the tourney with five wins by shutout.

The 31 victories ties the 2006 season on the program’s list of single-season superlatives; the 1998 Wildcats tallied 33 wins.

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