January 13, 2012

Minton Records 15 Saves to Backbone Women's Hockey to 1-0 Victory Against UConn

DURHAM, N.H.  – Lindsey Minton (Richardson, Texas) made 15 saves to record her first shutout of the season – eighth of her career – and backbone the University of New Hampshire women's ice hockey team to Friday night's 1-0 Hockey East victory against the University of Connecticut at the Whittemore Center.

UNH ended a five-game winless streak (0-4-1) to improve to 7-13-3 overall and 1-7-2 in Hockey East as well as 32-5-4 in the lifetime series vs. the Huskies. UConn, now winless in six straight (0-2-4), falls to 3-14-6, 2-6-2. 

Minton, who made a career-high 39 saves Jan. 10 at fourth-ranked Boston College, held UConn scoreless on four power plays (four shots), and that included three third-period saves when the Huskies had a two-skater advantage for 90 seconds.

UConn goalie Alexandra Garcia stopped 20 shots, included 13 in the first period. 

The Wildcats controlled play in the first period to generate a 14-4 shot advantage and score the game's only goal. In the third minute, Nicole Gifford (Ennismore, Ontario) slipped a pass from center ice to Kristina Lavoie (Fonthill, Ontario). Lavoie muscled past a defender down the slot, but was denied at the top of the crease by Garcia.

New Hampshire netted the game's only goal at 6:45 when Bryanna Farris (Carleton Place, Ontario) centered the puck from the right corner to Emma Clark (East Barre, Vt.). Clark's initial shot was stopped by Garcia, but she corralled the rebound and snapped a low wrister from the hashmarks into the net. Caroline Broderick (Marblehead, Mass.) earned her first career assist on the tally. 

In the eighth minute, UConn's Christie Brauer led a 2-on-1 rush down the right wing and her shot from the circle hit Minton and staggered the goalie, who was able to cover the puck after falling back on the ice.

UNH went on the first power play of the game at 14:49 and immediately generated pressure that resulted in Gifford's shot in the slot and the rebound attempt off the stick of Arielle O'Neill (St. Catherines, Ontario) that was also blocked aside by Garcia. 

As that power play ended, Broderick fired a slap shot wide right. The puck caromed off the end boards back towards the right post, where Kayla Mork (Victoria, Minn.) attempted to jam the puck into the net but was stoned by Garcia.

UConn pressured in the opening minutes of the second stanza. Minton stopped Sami Evelyn's shot from the low slot and then, while sprawled prone on the ice, also turned aside Sarah MacDonnell off the rebound from point blank range. 

Kayla Campero, UConn's leading goal scorer, had a breakaway in the eighth minute but her shot sailed high of the right corner of the net.

UNH went on its second power play at 7:59 of the second period and utilized a series of quick passes to generate a quality scoring chance. Lavoie won possession on the right boards and saucered a pass to O'Neill in the near circle. O'Neill slid the puck across the slot to Jenna Lascelle (Cornwall, Ontario), who advanced to the net but Garcia was in position for the save. 

Three minutes later, Jess Ryan (Cloquet, Minn.) fired a slap shot from the right point that ricocheted off Gifford's stick in the slot, but Garcia extended her left leg pad to kick aside the puck.

UNH carried 84 seconds of a power play into the third period, but the 'Cats were held at bay by UConn's fifth-ranked penalty kill, which did not allow a shot in that span. That power play unit answered the challenge again when the visitors were sent to the penalty box at 3:21. 

New Hampshire was whistled for penalties at 9:12 and 9:42 to give the Huskies a two-skater advantage for 90 seconds. UConn called its timeout at that point and 30 seconds later, Campero was alone at the right doorstep but lifted a shot over the open net off the crossbar.

UNH's penalty kill effectively kept the Huskies on the perimeter and Minton turned aside all three shots during the two-skater advantage. UConn did not record a shot on the remaining 5x4 power play, which lasted another 30 seconds.

UConn pulled Garcia in favor of an extra skater with 55 seconds remaining. Maggie Walsh's slap shot from the high slot was knocked down by Minton, but moments later the Wildcats were sent to the penalty box for slashing. UConn won the ensuing faceoff with 30 seconds to play, but Katie Brock (Marblehead, Mass.) cleared the puck off the dashers into the neutral zone and UConn was unable to regain possession in the offensive zone before time expired. 

New Hampshire and UConn conclude the two-game series Jan. 14 at the Whittemore Center. Game time is 4 p.m.

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