STORRS, Conn. – A power play goal in the final minutes of overtime lifted New Hampshire past the UConn women’s hockey team, 3-2, on Saturday afternoon at Freitas Ice Forum. The victory moves the Wildcats to 5-16-1 on the year and 3-9-0 in league play, while the Huskies drop to 6-12-6 and 2-6-3 in Hockey East action.
Connecticut jumped out to an early 2-0 lead with goals from Margaret Zimmer (St. Charles, Ill.) and Kayla Campero (Wallingford, Conn.) in the game’s first 10 minutes. UNH evened the contest with a pair of goals in the second frame, and scored the game-winner at 3:49 of overtime after a scoreless third period.
Elaine Chuli (Waterford, Ontario) made 52 saves for the Huskies in the losing effort, marking her fourth 50-save performance of the season. Chuli now has four of the five 50-save performances in program history. Vilma Vaattovaara made 23 saves for the Wildcats with UNH holding a 55-25 advantage in shots on goal. UNH connected on one of four power play chances while the Huskies went 0-for-2.
UConn struck for the game’s first goal at 8:12 of the opening frame with a slick strike from Zimmer. Justine Fredette (Winnipeg, Manitoba) started a breakout with a pass to Rachel Farrel (Cheshire, Conn.) in neutral ice, where she fed Zimmer in the UNH end. Zimmer juked past her defender to gain space in the left circle before snapping a shot top shelf that gave the Huskies a 1-0 lead.
Less than two minutes later, the Huskies tallied another to take a 2-0 lead at 10:12. Emily Snodgrass (Eagan, Minn.) sent a long pass into the UNH end, where Sarah MacDonnell (Quispmasis, New Brunswick) gathered and played the puck behind the New Hampshire net. The senior captain wheeled around toward the slot for a centering pass in front, where the disc found Campero on the doorstep to punch home her fifth goal of the season.
The Wildcats broke into score column with their first goal at 1:20 of the second frame, when Jonna Curtis went end-to-end for her team-high ninth goal of the season that cut the lead to 2-1. UNH struck again at 14:33 to level the contest at 2-2 when Amy Boucher scored through traffic in front. The two-goal second for UNH sent the contest to the second intermission all tied up.
The Huskies killed a pair of Wildcat power plays during the third period, with the second expiring around the 15-minute mark of the frame. UConn used its timeout at 16:56 of the third, and two minutes later Chuli stoned Kayla Mork on a breakway bid. Neither team could convert in the final moments of regulation and the contest went to overtime.
After a holding call on the Huskies at 3:06 of the extra frame, the Wildcats went on a power play that would eventually lead to the game-winner. With a hair over a minute left in the contest, Amy Schlagel ripped a shot from the point past a screened Chuli to give UNH the overtime victory.
UConn and New Hampshire conclude their weekend series tomorrow afternoon. Puck drop from Freitas Ice Forum is set for 3 p.m.
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