Women's Hockey: Wildcats can't compete with BC
Sara Carlson gave the University of New Hampshire women's ice hockey team a 1-0 lead 71 seconds into the game, but No. 4-ranked Boston College ousted the Wildcats from the Hockey East tournament with Friday night's 8-1 quarterfinal victory at Conte Forum.
UNH, the No. 8 seed of the tourney by virtue of a 4-14-2 Hockey East record, ends the season at 9-23-2. The Wildcats, who handed the Eagles their only home loss in 17 regular-season home games with a 3-1 win back on Oct. 16, recorded the shot advantage in both the second (8-7) and third (15-12) periods.
BC, the No. 1 seed with an 18-2-1 league record, improves to 26-5-3 overall.
UNH netminder Vilma Vaattovaara went the distance and made 24 saves. BC counterpart Corinne Boyles stopped 31 shots, including 15 in the third period. The Eagles' offense was led by Haley Skarupa (two goals, three assists), Kristyn Capizzano (2g, 2a) and Emily Pfalzer (3a).
New Hampshire took an early 1-0 lead just 1:11 into the game. Carlson initiated and ended the scoring sequence. She won possession of the puck on the left boards and tapped it to Jenna Lascelle, who in turn moved the puck the left point. Alexis Crossley fired a shot that was redirected in the low slot by Heather Kashman. Boyles stopped that shot but Carlson, positioned at the left doorstep, jammed the puck into the net for her second goal of the season.
BC netted goals 3:01 apart to transform a one-goal deficit into a one-goal lead. Vaattovaara stopped Emily Pfalzer's initial shot but Dana Trivigno scored off a rebound at the top of the crease to tie the score, 1-1, at 4:56. The Eagles took a lead they would not relinquish at 7:57. Haley Skarupa's shot from the slot clanged off the left post, but Kristyn Capizzano corralled the rebound and shot the puck into the open left side of the cage for a 2-1 advantage.
Kate Leary extended the margin to 3-1 with a power-play goal at 16:35 and Melissa Bizzari scored off a rebound at the top of the crease with 2.3 seconds on the clock to send the Eagles to the first intermission with a 4-1 lead.
Boston College netted its second power-play goal in as many opportunities on a Lexi Bender tally at 5:42 of the second period and Haley Skarupa potted the team's 12th shorthanded goal of the season to push the advantage to 6-1 at 9:56.
The Eagles scored their third special teams goal of the second stanza - and fourth of the game - when Trivigno, from the slot, found Capizzano alone at the right doorstep and she tapped the puck into the open near side.
Boston College made it 8-1 at 4:31 of the third period when Skarupa, alone in the slot, wristed a shot into the upper-left corner. One minute later, Hannah Armstrong had a breakaway down the slot and, with three BC skaters bearing down on her, fired a shot that was chested down by Boyles.
UNH gained a 5-on-3 power play for 12 seconds at 9:14. The Wildcats did not record a shot on the two-skater advantage, but on the extended power play Boyles was challenged by Arielle O'Neill and off the rebound by Nicole Gifford.
UNH entered Friday's quarterfinal with a 2-0 postseason record against Boston College; those wins were in the 2006 and '09 Hockey East title games. The 'Cats are now 0-3 in league quarterfinal games.
The end of the 2014 season marks the end of Wildcat careers for seniors Jessica Hitchcock, Gifford and O'Neill. Gifford recorded 29 goals and 42 assists for 71 points in 134 career games. Hitchcock, who spent her first two years at Niagara University, finished with overall numbers of 36 goals and 40 assists for 76 points in 133 games. O'Neill tallied 28 goals and 28 assists for 56 points in 134 games.
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