FABER'S GOAL, ASSIST LEADS #5 WOMEN'S HOCKEY PAST PROVIDENCE, 3-2

SAM FABER
BOX SCORE

PROVIDENCE
, R.I.Sam Faber (Mt. Sinai, N.Y.) recorded a goal and an assist to lead the fifth-ranked University of New Hampshire women’s ice hockey team to Friday night’s 3-2 victory against Providence College in Hockey East action at Schneider Arena.

UNH extended its season-best winning streak to nine games to improve to 18-5-5 overall and 13-2-3 in Hockey East. The Wildcats will clinch at least a share of the league regular-season title – the ‘Cats have won each of the last four crowns – and the top seed in the Hockey East tournament with a win Saturday night vs. the Friars. PC, the last team to defeat UNH (on Jan. 10), is now 16-13-2, 11-6-1.

In addition to Faber, Raylen Dziengelewski (Southwick, Mass.) had a multiple-point game for the ‘Cats with two assists. Kelly Paton (Woodstock, Ontario) and Angela Taylor (Paisley, Scotland) netted UNH’s other goals and goaltender Lindsey Minton (Richardson, Texas) made 20 saves.

PC goalie Danielle Ciarletta also stopped 20 shots.

Leading 2-1, UNH extended its advantage to 3-1 on Faber’s goal, the 77th of her career, at 3:27. Dziengelewski’s outlet pass from the defensive zone was deflected in the neutral zone, but Faber collected the puck on the right dashers and entered the offensive zone at the right point. She maneuvered to the slot and beat Ciarletta with a high shot from close range.

Less then a minute later out of a UNH scrum, Taylor, from her knees at the left post, lifted a shot high of the crossbar. In the ninth minute, her slap shot from the high slot rang off the left post.

Kate Bacon scored off her own rebound at the right doorstep to lift the Friars withing 3-2 at 16:40.

PC called time out at 18:19 and pulled Ciarletta in favor of an extra skater. New Hampshire kept the Friars on the boards and cleared the puck out of the zone with one minute remaining.

UNH’s Kacey Bellamy (Westfield, Mass.) intercepted a pass at center ice and shot the puck into the open net with 51 seconds to play, but the ‘Cats were whistled for a penalty to keep the score 3-2.

Minton twice denied Bacon from point-blank range and then Mari Pehkonen pushed a shot wide left of the cage.

New Hampshire cleared the puck the length of the ice with 25 seconds on the clock and PC was unable to re-enter the offensive zone the rest of the way.

Following a scoreless first period, the Wildcats took a 2-1 lead into the second intermission. Taylor scored on an odd-man rush with Jenn Wakefield (Pickering, Ontario) to give the ‘Cats a 1-0 lead at 1:41. Wakefield carried the puck along the left dashers through the neutral zone into the circle and Taylor redirected her centering pass into the net. Dziengelewski with the outlet pass from the defensive zone, was also credited with an assist.

The duo of Taylor and Wakefield generated another rush in the fifth minute, but this time Taylor’s hard one-timer from the slot was blocked aside by Ciarletta.

PC went on the first power play of the game at 7:00, but Minton turned aside Ashley Cottrell at the left doorstep in the opening moments of the Friars’ skater advantage, and UNH’s penalty kill didn’t allow a shot the remainder of that shorthanded situation.

New Hampshire generated a pair of dangerous scoring opportunities midway through the second stanza. Courtney Birchard (Mississauga, Ontario) led a 4-on-2 rush down the right side and her high wrist shot from the circle aimed at the upper-near corner was snared by Ciarletta’s glove. Moments later, Micaela Long (South Boston, Mass.) threw a centering pass into the slot that Paton redirected wide right of the cage.

In the 13th minute, Paton corralled a Julie Allen (Brampton, Ontario) outlet pass on the right wing and cut to the slot. Her initial shot was stopped by Ciarletta, but she gathered the rebound at the left post and lifted a shot off the side netting.

PC went back on the power play at 13:27, but the Wildcats potted their national-leading 10th shorthanded goal of the season at 15:20 to take a 2-0 lead. Joyce backhanded the puck out of the defensive zone along the left side to Paton. She entered the offensive zone and sent a crossing pass to Faber, who in turn floated a return pass to Paton for the goal. It marked Paton’s 99th career point.

The Friars trimmed the deficit to 2-1 at 17:02 when Abby Gauthier pulled in the loose puck and scored from the right doorstep. Amber Yung and Jean O’Neill set up the tally.

PC’s Bacon snuck behind the defense at the blue line for a breakaway, but Minton made a stick save to deny her at the left doorstep.

The shots were even at 8-8 in the scoreless first period. PC carried play in the opening five minutes, and that started in the opening minute with a faceoff win in the offensive zone from which Erin Normore’s low, screened shot from the right point was knocked down by Minton. The rookie goalie also turned aside Katy Beach’s bid from the right circle and a dangerous shot from Arianna Rigano in the slot.

UNH gained its legs as the period progressed and was able to sustain pressure on multiple shifts. Midway through the stanza, Birchard curled behind the net with the puck and sent a pass back to Wakefield at the right point. She charged and wristed a shot from the left faceoff dot that richocheted off a defenseman and the left post.

In the 13th minute, UNH cycled the puck along the right boards and Paton maneuvered along the goal line. At the right doorstep, the puck slid off her stick across the crease to Faber, who was denied by a sprawling Ciarletta. Minutes later, Joyce’s low, hard shot from the left circle was stopped by the PC goalie, but the puck trickled across the crease before being cleared by a Friars’ defenseman.

New Hampshire and Providence conclude the home-and-home series Feb. 14 at the Whittemore Center. Game time is 7 p.m.

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