Providence rallies, ends UNH's season in overtime
The University of New Hampshire women's ice hockey team played its last game of the season this past Saturday, when it hosted Providence for the Hockey East quarterfinal at the Whittemore Center. The Friars rallied from three goals down to prevail and keep their season alive, winning 5-4 in overtime.
UNH Head Coach Brian McCloskey was disappointed to be on the losing end, unable to continue their season. However, McCloskey embraced the Wildcat seniors for their great leadership and talent. The seniors who ended their college ice hockey careers are Kristina Lavoie, Paige Goloubef, Kristine Horn, Kailey Chappell and Katie Brock.
"I am proud of these seniors, and I would have liked to have come out with a win for them because these girls just did a lot on and off the ice for this club," McCloskey said.
Sophomore forward Jenna Lascelle gave the Wildcats a 1-0 lead at the 12:54 mark of the first period as she scored her first goal of the year. The goal was created when Lascelle stole the puck from PC defenders, allowing her to skate toward Providence net-minder Nina Riley one-on-one where she then hit the low left corner to break the stalemate.
Ten seconds later, Caroline Broderick tallied her second goal of the season as she found a pass from Lascelle in front of the net and one-timed her shot into the goal. The Wildcats went up 2-0 and would leave the period by that score. PC outshot UNH in the period 11-6.
Arielle O'Neill extended the Wildcat lead to 3-0 at the 4:51 mark of the second period when she tallied her eighth goal of the season. Jessica Hitchcock started the play when she dumped a pass off to a waiting Alexis Crossley at the point just inside of the blue line. Crossley then sent a pass off the wall behind the net, taking a lucky bounce to an open O'Neill who ripped a shot past Riley from the right hand side.
Providence chipped away at the lead, bringing it to 3-1 at 17:17 of the period when Victoria Virtue tallied her second goal of the season off a power play where she fired a quick wrist shot hitting the low right side past Jenn Gilligan. Rebecca Morse and Nicole Anderson received assists.
Through two periods of play, UNH held onto a 3-1 lead. New Hampshire outshot the Friars 9-7 in the period.
Providence would creep up on New Hampshire in the third with a start from forward Molly Illikainen who tallied a goal at 4:35 of the third after ripping a shot from within the faceoff circle and past Gilligan to cut the lead to 3-2. Haley Frade and Lexi Slattery earned assists off the Illikainen goal.
The Wildcats would fight back with a goal of their own from senior leading scorer Lavoie, who added to the lead to make it 4-2 at 12:55 of the third period off a breakaway.
However, the Friars continued to fight back as they retaliated with a pair of unanswered goals, the first of which came from Nic Anderson at 13:23. Jessica Vella recorded the assist after sending the puck to an open Anderson who jammed the puck into the net, bringing the lead down 4-3. Brooke Simpson tied the game a little over two minutes later at 15:48 of the period. Simpson fired a shot through traffic beating Gilligan on low right corner of the goal.
"I would say (the second and third Providence) goals really were the turning point," McCloskey said. "We can't be giving up those goals with a lead, especially in our own building, but I have to credit the determined Providence team."
Both teams entered overtime tied at 4. Both teams had chances in overtime, but Beth Hanrahan stole the show as she quieted the UNH crowd with the game-winning goal coming from a wrist shot that pulled just inside the left corner at 5:51 of overtime.
Providence outshot UNH 38-25 over the course of the game, which included a 7-3 advantage in the overtime period.
With the win, Providence moves on to semi-final action next weekend in Hyannis, Mass. in hopes of a Hockey East Title, while New Hampshire will retire for the 2012-13 season.
"We came a long way but obviously felt disappointed for how we ended. We were so close of breaking through," McCloskey said. "We are going through a rebuilding process, but I credit the seniors for conducting winners on this team for those returning. We are definitely an up-and-coming team, that's for sure."
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