Despite pair of losses, UNH secures playoff berth
Published: Monday, February 20, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 16:02
Kristina Lavoie extended her goal-scoring streak to three games and Jenn Gilligan stopped 29 of 31 shots, but the University of New Hampshire was defeated 2-1 by the University of Maine in Sunday afternoon's regular-season finale at Alfond Arena.
UNH finished sixth in the Hockey East standings with a 4-15-2 league record and will play at third-seeded Boston University in a first-round playoff game next weekend (Feb. 26, 3 p.m.). The Wildcats have lost 12 consecutive road games and seven straight overall to end the regular season at 10-21-3. Maine completed the season-series sweep of UNH to improve to 17-10-6, 11-8-2.
Gilligan, who made a career-high 44 saves in Saturday's 4-3 overtime loss, recorded double-digit saves in both the first (11) and second (12) periods, then stopped all six shots she faced in the third. UM counterpart Brittany Ott was credited with 25 saves, including 11 in the second stanza.
Maine, which scored the last four goals of Saturday's game, quickly took a 1-0 lead Sunday when Kelly McDonald scored an unassisted goal at 1:47 of the first period.
The Wildcats leveled the score, 1-1, on Lavoie's team-leading 18th goal of the season at 4:03. Brynja Bogan recorded her second assist of the season and Kailey Chappell tallied her second assist in as many games on Lavoie's third goal of the weekend and fifth the past three games.
The Black Bears regained momentum and outshot the visitors 5-0 in the next four minutes. UNH went on the first power play of the game at 9:15 and both teams recorded one shot during that two-minute span. Following the penalty kill, Maine carried play and generated a 3-1 shot advantage the next 3:30. Play leveled the last five minutes of the stanza with both teams firing two shots on goal for a 12-8 edge by Maine through one period of play.
Gilligan turned aside three shots in the opening two minutes of the second period to keep the score tied, 1-1. The ‘Cats then sustained offensive pressure, but Ott denied Chappell, Nicole Gifford and Jenna Lascelle in succession.
Maine went back in front, 2-1, at 10:35 on Melissa Gagnon's second goal of the season that was set up by Danielle Ward and Brittany Dougherty.
Five minutes later, Gilligan withstood a Black Bears' flurry of five shots that included two off the stick of Dawn Sullivan.
New Hampshire went on its second power play of the game at 17:02, but did not register a shot on goal. The Wildcats pressured in the last minute, however, when Heather Kashman and Lascelle were turned aside by Ott.
Maine went on its first power play at 1:06 of the third period, but UNH's penalty kill did not allow a shot on goal.
In the fourth minute, UNH generated pressure in which both Bryanna Farris and Lavoie were turned away by Ott. Midway through the final frame, Ott preserved the 2-1 Black Bears' lead by stopping shots from Katie Kleinendorst and Arielle O'Neill.
With two minutes remaining, Gilligan kept the ‘Cats within one goal with three consecutive saves. She exited the game in favor of an extra skater with 62 seconds to play but was forced back into the net with 36 seconds on the clock. UNH did not record a shot the rest of the way.
New Hampshire went 1-2-0 this season against Boston University. The Wildcats and Terriers split two games at UNH's Whittemore Center with the ‘Cats prevailing 4-2 on Jan. 19 and BU recording a 5-1 win on Feb. 4. BU won 5-2 on its home ice back on Nov. 12.