Women's Hockey: UNH falls on Senior Night 4-2

By Max Sullivan
On February 23, 2014

Despite a pregame ceremony to honor its graduating seniors, the UNH women's hockey team suffered its 10th straight loss in the final game of the regular season, losing 4-2 at home to Northeastern on Sunday afternoon. They ended their season in eighth place in conference with a record of 9-22-2, 4-13-2 in Hockey East.

The Wildcats are now slated to play No. 1 Boston College in the first round of the Hockey East Tournament, which starts this Friday.

Northeastern forward Brittany Esposito scored a hat trick Sunday, while UNH forward Jenna Lascelle and Megan Armstrong scored goals for the Wildcats. Forward Heather Kashman and defenseman Jess Ryan earned assists on Lascelle's goal, while captain Nicole Gifford and Jessica Hitchcock assisted Armstrong.

In the first period, the two teams scored a goal apiece. Esposito opened the scoring at 5:05 by entering the UNH zone with two Wildcat defensemen in front of her. Esposito deked past the defender on her left and made her way to the UNH goal. She faked right and flipped the puck past UNH goaltender Vilma Vaattovaara's stick side with her backhand, making the score 1-0.

Then, at 6:39, Lascelle received a pass in the slot from Kashman, who had picked up the rebound of Ryan's shot from the blue line. Lascelle, who was facing away from the goal, spun around and slung the puck past NU goaltender Chloe Desjardins' glove side, making the score 1-1.

The Huskies broke the tie with two goals in the second period. Esposito scored her second goal 4:30 into the period when NU forward Claire Santostefano intercepted a pass from defenseman Alexis Crossley. Santostefano carried the puck the other way with Esposito on her right and no Wildcats in front of her. Crossley tried to chase them, but Santostefano had already passed the puck to Esposito, who scored on Vaattovaara's stick side, making the score 2-1.

Esposito's third goal came at 2:17 later on the power play. The forward passed from the slot to NU forward Hayley Scamurra, who was next to the right goal post. As Scamurra shot, Esposito crashed the net and jammed the rebound past Vaattovaara's stick side, making the score 4-1. NU forward Hayley Masters received the primary assist on the play, touching the puck before Esposito shot.

The Wildcats found life in the third period when Gifford passed the puck from behind the NU goal to Armstrong in the slot. Armstrong ripped a wrist past Desjardins's stick side, making the score 3-2 at 5:39 in the period.

The Huskies made the final score of 4-2 at 10:12 in the third off a shot by NU defenseman Colleen Murphy. In front of the net, Huskies forward Kelly Wallace put a stick on the puck before her line mate, forward Paige Savage, tapped it past Vaattovaara's stick side for the goal.

The Wildcats take on BC this Friday at Chestnut Hill. Faceoff is at 7 p.m.

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