February 5, 2012

Lavoie Scores Twice in Women's Ice Hockey Team's 6-3 Loss at UConn

KRISTINA LAVOIE

STORRS, Conn.Kristina Lavoie (Fonthill, Ontario) scored two goals and Jenna Lascelle (Cornwall, Ontario) tallied two assists, but the University of New Hampshire women's ice hockey team was upended 6-3 by the University of Connecticut at the Mark Edward Freitas Ice Forum on Sunday afternoon.

UNH, which has lost 10 consecutive road games dating back to a 5-4 overtime victory at Dartmouth College on Nov. 6, 2011, fell to 10-17-3 overall and 4-11-2 in Hockey East. UConn, which lost by scores of 1-0 and 5-1 in a two-game series at UNH in mid-January, snapped a four-game losing streak and 12-game winless streak (0-7-5) to improve to 4-19-7, 3-11-3.

UNH goaltender Lindsey Minton (Richardson, Texas) made 28 saves while UConn counterpart Nicole Paniccia stopped 20 shots.

UConn buzzed around the UNH net in the opening eight minutes of the game to generate an 8-0 shot advantage. In the fifth minute, Minton turned aside both Emily Snodgrass and Rachel Farrel and minutes later the senior netminder denied Kayla Campero and Jocelyn Slattery to force a defensive zone faceoff at 7:57.

The Wildcats quickly advanced the puck with Lascelle attacking down the right wing. Her crossing pass found Lavoie at the left faceoff dot and she fired a shot over Paniccia's blocker into the upper-left corner of the net at 8:05.

With just over three minutes remaining in the first period, Arielle O'Neill (St. Catharines, Ontario) won a faceoff back to Jess Ryan (Cloquet, Minn.) at the left point. Ryan's shot was block by a UConn skater, but O'Neill corralled the puck in the slot and wristed a shot towards the upper-right corner that Paniccia gloved.

Thirty seconds later, UConn's Alexandra Vakos led a 2-on-1 rush down the left wing and she slipped a centering pass to Casey Knajdek, who was able to shift left around Minton, but in doing so lost control of the puck and pushed a shot wide of the left post.

UNH led by that 1-0 margin at the first intermission despite the home team's 11-5 shot advantage. The Wildcats pressured in the opening minute of the second stanza and Lascelle rocketed a shot from the right circle that ricocheted off the near post. Two minutes later, Lascelle's stickhandling drew a pair of UConn skaters to the slot and she flipped a pass to the right side, where Lavoie was denied at the doorstep.

Lavoie would not be denied her second goal of the game – and 13th of the season – at 4:10 when she gave the 'Cats a 2-0 lead. Nicole Gifford (Ennismore, Ontario) chipped the puck along the boards out of the defensive zone to Lascelle, whose pass from the red line eluded two Huskies and found the stick of Lavoie for a breakaway opportunity. She charged down the slot and deked Paniccia before tucking the puck into the open net.

UNH went on the first power play of the game at 6:29, but UConn generated the most dangerous scoring opportunity when Vakos' shot from the right circle went off Minton and the outside of the right post.

In the 11th minute, Kailey Chappell (Pickering, Ontario) played the puck around the boards to Lascelle on the right side. Lascelle advanced through the neutral zone and threw a diagonal pass across to Lavoie, who spun from the left circle to the slot and lofted a backhand that Paniccia blocked aside.

Jenna Welch scored on a shot from the right point to lift the Huskies within 2-1 at 10:31 of the middle stanza. UConn leveled the score at 14:39 as Minton stopped Snodgrass' initial shot from the right point, but Sami Evelyn chipped the puck into the net from a scrum in front of the net.

With 90 seconds remaining in the second period, Gifford led a UNH rush down the right wing. She threw the puck in front of the net, where an unmarked Lavoie redirected a shot over the crossbar.

New Hampshire regained the lead, 3-2, on the first shot of the third period at 3:11. Katie Kleinendorst (Vestal, N.Y.) gained possession behind the net and continued to the left corner, where she snapped a pass back to Kristine Horn (Utica, Mich.) at the left point. Horn slapped a low shot towards the net and Bryanna Farris (Carleton Place, Ontario) deflected the puck under the crossbar for her second goal of the season.

UConn tied the score, 3-3, less than two minutes later at 4:54 when Farrel's shot from the right faceoff dot sailed over Minton's glove into the upper-right corner of the cage.

Stephanie Raithby's hustle set up the game-winning goal at 15:21. She raced past two UNH skaters to gain possession in the left circle and her initial shot was stopped by Minton, as was Kelly Horan's point-blank shot off the rebound. UConn sustained pressure and Maude Blain's bid was also turned away by Minton, but off the rebound Raithby shoveled a backhander into the cage.

The Huskies extended the advantage to 5-3 at 17:45. The Wildcats were once again beaten in a race to the puck, and this time Snodgrass rifled a shot from the left faceoff dot into the upper-right corner.

UNH pulled Minton in favor of an extra skater with 92 seconds remaining but UConn prevented the 'Cats from sustaining pressure and did not allow a shot on goal before Horan, from a group of players in the slot, swept the puck the length of the ice into the empty net with 13 seconds on the clock to secure the victory.

UConn, which hadn't scored more than two goals in a game since Nov. 26 and had scored a total of six goals the previous five games, recorded the shot advantage all three periods (11-5; 10-8; 13-10) for a 34-23 advantage.

For the first time this season, UNH was not whistled for a penalty. The Wildcats were 0-for-1 on the power play.

New Hampshire returns to action Feb. 11 against Providence College and the Wildcats play host to PC on Feb. 12 for Senior Day. Both games begin at 2 p.m.

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