PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Jessica Hitchcock (LaSalle, Ontario) scored her third goal of the weekend but the University of New Hampshire women's ice hockey team was defeated 4-1 by Providence College at Schneider Arena on Saturday night.
UNH, which entered the game with two consecutive wins, is now 8-11-2 overall and 3-4-2 in Hockey East. Providence, which avoided the season-series sweep by the Wildcats, improved to 9-14-0, 4-6-0.
UNH starting goaltender Ashley Wilkes (North Pole, Alaska) made 18 saves and exited the game with the 'Cats trailing 3-0 at the end of two periods. Marie-Eve Jean (Gatineau, Quebec), who had not seen game action since Oct. 4 – the third game of the season -- entered at the start of the third period and stopped three of four shots she faced.
PC goalie Sarah Bryant made eight of her 15 saves in the third period. Allison Micheletti (two goals) and Corinne Buie (two assists) led the offense.
The Friars quickly took a 1-0 lead when Micheletti, with the assistance of Brittney Thunstrom and Buie, scored 28 seconds after the opening faceoff. UNH pressured in the fifth minute, but Bryant denied both Hannah Armstrong (Keswick, Ontario) and Nicole Gifford (Ennismore, Ontario) to preserve the one-goal advantage. One minute later, Bryant also turned aside Jonna Curtis (Elk River, Minn.).
The Wildcats went on the first power play of the game at 7:51, but the Friars' penalty kill did not surrender a shot on goal. In the 11th minute, Wilkes kept the 'Cats within one goal when she recorded saves against Beth Hanrahan and Kendra Goodrich. Providence outshot the visitors 3-0 the rest of the stanza to take a 10-3 shot advantage into the first intermission.
New Hampshire went on its second power play at 1:18 of the second stanza and Bryant stopped the only shot she faced – off Hitchcock's stick – during the Wildcats' skater advantage to keep the Friars in front, 1-0.
In the next two minutes, Wilkes stopped Brooke Simpson, Buie and Molly Illikainen. UNH went back on the power play at 5:39, but PC's penalty kill once again did not yield a shot on goal.
The Friars netted goals 3:14 apart to quickly extend the advantage to 3-0. Cassidy Carels struck at 12:15 and Stephanie DeMars scored at 15:29. Both teams generated pressure between those two goals as UNH produced shots by Jenna Lascelle (Cornwall, Ontario) and Heather Kashman (Edmonton, Alberta). PC responded at the other end of the ice with shots off the pipe by Janine Weber and Hanrahan as well as three shots Wilkes turned aside before DeMars' goal.
Providence carried that three-goal lead and 21-7 shot advantage into the second intermission.
The Friars extended the lead to 4-0 on Micheletti's second goal of the game 34 seconds into the third period. Hitchcock, who scored two goals in Friday night's 4-2 win vs. PC, trimmed the deficit to three goals at 2:27. Gifford set up the tally.
In a two-minute span beginning in the 10th minute, the 'Cats were turned away thrice by Bryant on shots by Armstrong, Alexis Crossley (Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia) and Curtis. The PC goalie made two saves the rest of the way.
New Hampshire went on another power play at 11:58 and pulled Jean to create a two-skater advantage at 12:18, but could not record a shot on goal before she reentered the game at 13:29.
UNH returns to action Jan. 18 at UConn and the 'Cats play host to the Huskies Jan. 19. Both games are at 2 p.m.