DURHAM, N.H. – Hannah Armstrong (Keswick, Ontario) and Jessica Hitchcock (LaSalle, Ontario) each scored to bring the University of New Hampshire women's hockey team within a goal. However, The Ohio State University Buckeyes were able to outlast the 'Cats to give UNH a 3-2 defeat Saturday afternoon at the Whittemore Center.
UNH is now 6-8-2 overall in the non-conference matchup. Ohio State improves to 4-9-2, snapping a nine game winless streak.
Freshman goaltender Ashley Wilkes (North Pole, Alaska) recorded 23 saves, including a game-high 10 stops in the first period. Buckeye netminder Lisa Steffes made eight saves in both the first and third periods to total 23 stops.
The Buckeyes went 1-for-2 on the power play while UNH was scoreless on the man advantage with two chances. New Hampshire was edged out in shots by a 26-25 advantage.
Ohio State scored the game's first goal at 17:09 of the first period on a 5 on 3 power play. New Hampshire conceded five shots on goal before the Buckeyes were able to beat Wilkes glove side at the doorstep. Heath Kashman dished the puck down near the boards for Kari Schmitt. Julia McKinnon received the cross-ice puck from Schmitt near the top of the crease. McKinnon was able to slip the puck past the pad of Wilkes for her second goal of the season.
The Buckeyes doubled their lead in the second period as Melani Moylan notched her first goal of the season unassisted at 12:03. After dispossessing the puck from a Wildcat forward, the sophomore pushed the puck up ice. After crossing the second blue line, Moylan snapped a shot, which sailed over the right shoulder of Wilkes for the goal.
New Hampshire cut the deficit in half as Armstrong netted her fourth of the season with 42 seconds left in the second period. Defenseman Jess Ryan (Cloquet, Minn.) found forward Kayla Mork (Victoria, Minn.) in stride with a long pass down the length of the ice. Mork forked over the puck to Armstrong, who blasted the puck past Steffes nearside for the goal.
UNH nearly leveled the score in the opening moments of the third period. Armstrong skated to the left point of the offensive zone as she struck a slap shot on target. The forward struck the far corner of the cage as the puck ricocheted out of harms way. On the ensuing play, Cara Zubko corralled the loose puck and pushed the play up ice. Zubko surrendered the puck to McKinnon as the forward looked to double her goal tally on the right side slot. Wilkes made the initial stop on McKinnon but could not handle the puck. Curtis Kendall collected the loose puck and buried the rebound to put the Buckeyes up 3-1 with 14:24 remaining in the third period.
The Wildcats were able to get within a goal again on an even strength goal by Hitchcock at 9:29. In her first game since Oct. 21, 2012, Jonna Curtis (Elk River, Minn.) directed the attack down the middle of the Buckeye defense. Curtis passed the puck to Nicole Gifford (Ennismore, Ontario) who then backhanded the puck to Hitchcock across the crease to finish the play with a one-timer.
New Hampshire pulled Wilkes with 1:28 remaining on the clock for the extra skater. However, the Buckeyes were able to contain the Wildcat surge in the final moments to halt the UNH rally.
The Wildcats concludes their home stand against the Buckeyes on Sunday, Dec. 1 at 1:00 p.m. For tickets, visit UNHWildcats.com or call (603) 862-4000, extension 5.