Wildcats clinch home-ice for conference tourney
Published: Monday, February 25, 2013
Updated: Monday, February 25, 2013 22:02
The University of New Hampshire women’s ice hockey team wrapped up its regular season on a positive note, taking three out of a possible four points in the two-game home series against rival Maine this past weekend at the Whittemore Center.
With the effort UNH displayed on the weekend, they have earned home-ice advantage for the first round of the Hockey East Tournament.
UNH head coach Brian McCloskey’s thoughts on the weekend performance were nothing but praise and appreciation for his team’s efforts.
“I am proud of this class, and it is nice to win the last game of the regular season,” McCloskey said. “We didn’t play great in the weekend, but we played hard and we are ready for playoffs.”
The first game of the weekend was held on Saturday, where both teams skated to a 2-2 tie. Maine grabbed an early 2-0 lead, but a tremendous effort by the Wildcats helped bring the game even. New Hampshire outshot the opposing Black Bears by a margin of 51-27.
The second and final game of the weekend series was held this past Sunday as Sara Carlson helped lift the Wildcats to a 2-1 win over Maine on Senior Night.
New Hampshire opened the gates of the game, flooding Maine with 14 shots in the opening period, but was blocked from chances of grabbing a lead with an impressive outing from goaltender Brittany Ott to keep the Black Bears in contention through one.
On the other side of the ice, New Hampshire goalie Jenn Gilligan remained persistent between the pipes, keeping the game knotted at zero through the first period by saving all seven of Maine’s shots.
Nicole Gifford broke the stalemate at the 5:52 mark of the second period off a power play when she found the rebound off a shot by Hannah Armstrong in front of the net. Alexis Crossley created the play when she sent a pin-point pass to the stick of Armstrong who then fired a shot that was saved by Ott, but Gifford found the rebound and tallied the goal, her third of the season.
Maine bounced back when Brianne Kilgour leveled the score at 1-1 with 3:29 remaining in the second period when she fired a wrist shot that snuck in the left side of the net past Gilligan.
Through two periods of play, the score was tied, 1-1.
Freshman Sara Carlson’s goal at the 7:03 mark of the third was the game changer and ultimately sent the ‘Cats to victory.
Jenna Lascelle got the play started when she stole the puck from Maine against the boards and skated in with it, then bouncing a pass off the wall that sent the puck in front of the crease by Kayla Mork where an open Carlson found the puck and put it away for the tally. Lascelle got the first assist on the play, while Mork received the second.
Jenn Gilligan earned her 10th win of the season in goal as she made 26 saves on 27 shots.
New Hampshire finished the regular season on a strong note with an overall record of 14-15-4 and a record of 10-8-3 in Hockey East. Maine fell to 5-23-4 overall and 2-16-3 in Hockey East.
The team hopes to continue its success as it looks to make a statement, according to freshman forward Sara Carlson.
“We have a good chance to go far because we work hard, and we just want to win not only for us but for the seniors that have been here,” Carlson said.
The Wildcats will be competing in the Hockey East Tournament this season as they locked in a home-ice advantage in the quarterfinals. The quarterfinals will be held on Saturday, March 2, at the Whittemore Center against the Providence Friars. The puck is set to drop at 1 p.m.