DURHAM, N.H. – Each skater on the Micaela Long (South Boston, Mass.) – Jenn Wakefield (Pickering, Ontario) – Sam Faber (Mt. Sinai, N.Y.) line recorded four points to propel the No. 1 University of New Hampshire women’s ice hockey team to Saturday afternoon’s 8-2 Hockey East victory against Northeastern University at the Whittemore Center.
UNH extended its unbeaten streak to seven games (6-0-1) to improve to 21-3-1 overall and 11-0-1 in the league. NU, which lost to the Wildcats by scores of 4-0 and 6-0 at home this season, is now 5-15-2 overall and 4-7-0 in Hockey East. The ‘Cats have won 21 consecutive games in this series and are 70-29-7 overall vs. the Huskies.
Both Long and Wakefield recorded two goals and two assists while Faber tallied one goal and three assists; Long matched her career highs in both goals and assists for a personal-best in points. Jennifer Hitchcock (LaSalle, Ontario) and Sadie Wright-Ward (Durham, N.H.) both finished with three points as the former had two goals and an assist while the latter was credited with three assists.
UNH goaltender Kayley Herman (Weyburn, Saskatchewan) recorded six of her eight saves in the second period. NU starting goalie Leah Sulyma made 16 first-period saves but exited the game with the Huskies trailing 4-0 at the first intermission and was charged with the loss. Stacey Scott played the remaining 40 minutes and was credited with 19 saves.
The ‘Cats dominated play from the opening faceoff and generated a 20-1 shot advantage in the first period. Wakefield struck first at 7:59 on a shot from the slot after collecting Faber’s pass from the left circle. Hitchcock gave New Hampshire a 2-0 lead at 12:16 when Wright-Ward curled behind the net and threw the puck across the crease to her unmarked teammate at the right post; Leah Craig (Seaforth, Ontario) was also credited with an assist.
UNH then scored goals 15 seconds apart – at 17:25 and 17:40 – to extend its lead to 4-0. Kacey Bellamy (Westfield, Mass.) tallied what proved to be the game-winning goal with a shot through traffic from the high slot. Hitchcock, with the pass from the right corner, and Wright-Ward set up the goal. Faber, with the assistance of Wakefield and Long, netted her team-leading 18th goal of the season to give the ‘Cats a four-goal lead.
Northeastern challenged immediately following the opening faceoff of the second period as Kristi Kehoe snuck behind the UNH defense and wristed a shot from the slot that Herman snared with her glove.
The Wildcats quelled the chance for a shift in momentum when Faber created a turnover in the offensive end, Long corralled the loose puck in the left circle and roofed a backhander from the slot into the goal at 1:45.
Wakefield potted her second goal of the game at 8:49 on a shot from the slot; Martine Garland (Toronto, Ontario) and Long were credited with assists. The ‘Cats extended the margin to 7-0 on Hitchcock’s power-play goal, which was set up by Steph Holmes (Rye, N.Y.) and Wright-Ward, at 19:17 of the middle stanza.
Northeastern ended a long scoreless drought vs. the Wildcats with Chelsey Jones’ goal at 2:13 of the final frame. Herman stopped Kehoe’s initial shot from the left circle, but the puck slipped past her into the crease and Jones pushed the puck across the goal line. That tally ended a scoreless streak of 269 minutes, 51 seconds; the ‘Cats had shut out NU each of the previous three meetings.
Long put UNH in front 8-1 at 4:56 with the assistance of Faber and Wakefield. NU’s Liz Chapman scored on a shot from the slot at 17:54 to close the scoring; Cassie Sperry and Annie Hogan were credited with assists.
New Hampshire returns to action Feb. 2-3 at the University of Maine. The Wildcats’ next home game is Feb. 16 (2 p.m.) vs. Vermont; that game is part of Hockey East’s “Skating Strides Against Breast Cancer” weekend. Tickets are available online at www.unhwildcats.com, by calling 1-866-WILDCAT or at the Whittemore Center box office.