February 1, 2014

Women's Ice Hockey Upended In Overtime at Maine, 3-2

ORONO, Maine – Hannah Armstrong (Keswick, Ontario) and Alexis Crossley (Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia) scored third-period goals 73-seconds apart to give the University of New Hampshire women's ice hockey team a 2-1 lead, but the University of Maine netted an extra-attacker goal and then struck at 2:53 of overtime to record a 3-2 victory Saturday afternoon at Alfond Arena. 

UNH is now 9-15-2 overall and 4-8-2 in Hockey East. Maine, which skated to a 2-2 road tie vs. the Wildcats in October 2013, improved to 4-16-5, 2-10-3. The teams conclude the weekend series Feb. 2 (3 p.m.) at Alfond Arena.

UNH goalie Vilma Vaattovaara (Veikkola, Finland) made 22 saves while Maine counterpart Meghann Treacy stopped 31 shots, including one in overtime. Audra Richards scored an extra-attacker goal with 42 seconds remaining in regulation to force OT, then scored the game-winning goal. 

The 'Cats pressured in the opening minute of the game, but Treacy denied both Nicole Gifford (Ennismore, Ontario) and Jenna Lascelle (Cornwall, Ontario). In the next five minutes, the 'Cats tallied a 3-1 shot advantage in which Vaattovaara stopped Jess Vallotton and Treacy recorded saves against Gifford, Arielle O'Neill (St. Catharines, Ontario) and Megan Armstrong (Edina, Minn.) to keep the game scoreless.

The Wildcats continued to carry play in the seventh and eighth minutes, during which they generated shots by Caroline Broderick (Marblehead, Mass.), Sara Carlson (Hutchinson, Minn.) and Gifford. 

Midway through the scoreless first period, UNH held an 8-1 shot advantage. The Black Bears recorded the next two shots over a five-minute span, but Vaattovaara turned aside both Richards and Shawna Lesperance. 

The Black Bears went on the first power play of the game at 17:14, but New Hampshire's penalty kill allowed just one shot, and that attempt off the stick of Kelsey MacSorley was stopped by Vaattovaara. UM tested Vaattovaara one last time in the first period, but she one again turned aside MacSorley to keep the game scoreless heading into the first intermission with the visitors holding an 8-5 shot advantage.

The home team carried momentum early into the seconds stanza and took a 1-0 lead on Karissa Kirkup's goal 21 seconds after the opening faceoff. Brooklyn Langlois and Kelly McDonald set up the tally. 

UNH responded with shots by Jess Ryan (Cloquet, Minn.) and O'Neill, but once again both were blocked away by Treacy. At the other end of the ice, Kelly MacDonald's shot caromed off the post.

Maine gained a two-skater advantage for 34 seconds at 6:53 but did not record a shot in that span. UNH went on its first power play at 13:38 and Treacy stopped the only shot she faced, and that was off Crossley's stick. 

The Wildcats were awarded a penalty shot at 16:41, but did not score.

Armstrong, with the assistance of Jessica Hitchcock (LaSalle, Ontario), scored a power-play goal at 2:20 of the third period to level the score, 1-1. 

Treacy stopped O'Neill and Crossley, but could not stop Crossley the next time as her fourth goal of the season gave the 'Cats a 2-1 lead at 3:33. Kayla Mork (Victoria, Minn.) was credited with an assist.

The Black Bears pulled Treacy in favor of an extra skater with 2:12 remaining in regulation. Kristin Gilmour and Jennifer More were both denied by Vaattovaara, but the home team continued to pressure and Richards, with the assistance of Hailey Browne, tied the score at 19:18. 

Maine continued to attack, but Vaattovaara turned aside shots by Brittney Huneke and Kristin Gilmour to send the game into overtime.

The Black Bears generated the first wave of attack with a shot wide by Katy Massey followed by Browne's blocked shot and McDonald's attempt that went wide. At the other end of the ice, Hitchcock's bid was stopped by Treacy. 

Maine completed the comeback when the combination of Brooklyn Langlois to Brianne Kilgour to Richards produced the game-winning goal.

UNH finished the game with a 31-22 shot advantage and went 1-for-2 on the power play. UM was scoreless in four power plays.

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