– Arianna Rigano, Alyse Ruff and Jessica Vella recorded two
points apiece to propel the Providence College women’s ice
hockey team to Saturday afternoon’s 4-1 victory against
third-ranked University of New Hampshire in Hockey East action at
the Whittemore Center.
UNH, which entered the game with an eight-game unbeaten streak, is now 10-2-4 overall and 5-1-1-0 in Hockey East. PC improved to 5-7-6, 4-3-3-2.
UNH senior forward Micaela Long (South Boston, Mass.) tallied her 100th career point with her seventh goal of the season – 42nd of her career – at 14:52 of the second period. She is the 42nd UNH Wildcat to attain the 100-point milestone.
The Friars opened the scoring with goals 92 seconds apart in the first period. Rigano carried the puck through the left circle behind the goal line and her centering pass to the low slot caromed off Vella into the net at 8:32; Lauren Covell was also credited with an assist. Rigano struck at 10:04 when she intercepted a pass in the defensive zone and broke in alone down the slot. After shifting to her forehand, she quickly reversed to the backhand in the low slot and slid the puck into the net.
PC carried that 2-0 lead into the first intermission and extended its advantage to three goals at 4:25 of the second stanza – just six seconds after the Friars’ power play ended. Ruff skated the puck through the left circle and her pass to the slot ricocheted off Jean O’Neill to Vella, who snapped a shot into the cage.
UNH did not score on power-play opportunities at 5:42 and 8:02 – the Wildcats kept the puck in the offensive zone for all but the final seven seconds of the latter power play but recorded just two shots – before netting a power-play goal at 14:52 to pull within 3-1. Kelly Paton (Woodstock, Ontario) initiated the scoring sequence by keeping the puck in the offensive zone at the left point and swinging a pass along the blue line to Courtney Birchard (Mississauga, Ontario). Birchard’s slap shot sailed wide of the right post, but Kristine Horn (Utica, Mich.) pushed the puck along the end boards towards the right corner for Long. Long maneuvered to the right circle and wristed a shot through traffic inside the near post.
The Friars opened the third period on the power play and capitalized on that opportunity to reestablish a three-goal lead, 4-1. Ruff carried the puck from the right circle to the corner, and her centering pass to the slot was one-timed into the net by Laura Veharanta. Jennifer Friedman was also credited with an assist.
UNH goaltender Lindsey Minton (Richardson, Texas) recorded 17 saves. PC goalie Genevieve Lacasse stopped 22 shots.
The loss marked the Wildcats’ first home league loss since the inception of Hockey East in the 2003 season; they entered the game with a 65-0-10 regular-season record vs. Hockey East foes at the Whittemore Center.
UNH’s overall league unbeaten streak of 17 games (16-0-1) also came to an end. Prior to Saturday, the last Hockey East team to defeat the ‘Cats was Providence (Jan. 10, 2009; 5-0 in Providence).
Another streak that came to an end was UNH’s regular-season home unbeaten streak of 34 games (28-0-6). The last time the Wildcats lost a regular-season home game was Nov. 11, 2007.
One streak that did not come to an end was Long’s point-scoring streak – she now has a point in nine consecutive games with three goals and 11 assists in that span.
New Hampshire closes out the 2009 calendar year with road games against Boston College (Dec. 8) and Dartmouth College (Dec. 12). Both games begin at 7 p.m.