DURHAM, N.H. (March 3, 2007) – A pair of goals, each scored in the waning moments of a period, gave the No. 4 New Hampshire women’s hockey team a 2-0 win over the University of Connecticut in the semifinal round of the Hockey East Championship before a throng of 1,628 at the Wildcats’ Whittemore Center.
The Huskies wrapup their 20006-07 season at 17-15-3 while the Wildcats up their mark to 27-3-5 and will defend their 2005-06 Hockey East title on Sunday against either Boston College or Providence.
The first period nearly went scoreless and both netminders proved early that they were on their game. In the opening minute, UNH’s Melissa Bourdon made a point blank save on freshman Michelle Binning (Oshawa, Ont.) while UConn goaltender Brittany Wilson (Nepean, Ont.) flashed her pads to make a great rebound save on Sadie Wright-Ward seven minutes into the opening stanza. The frame would not end in scoreless deadlock though as, on the Wildcats’ lone power play of the opening 20 minutes, Wright-Ward completed a crisp series of passes by her UNH teammates by beating Wilson upstairs at 19:12. Shots on goal were a relatively-even 7-5 in favor of the homestanding Wildcats.
The scales started to tip towards the UNH side in a second period when the Wildcats held a 14-2 edge in shots on goal. The Wildcats had a great chance denied by Wilson nine minutes into the frame after All-Hockey East first team pick Sam Faber split the Husky defensemen and broke in all alone on the Husky cage. Wilson, Hockey East’s first-team netminder, forced Faber to her right though and the sophomore’s attempt rang off the outside of the post. UNH did not relent and, for the second straight period, scored just before time expired. A flurry of activity in front of the UConn goal ended with a Jennifer Hitchcock strike from the slot with just 1.8 seconds to play before the horn sounded.
The third period saw more even play with shots a deceptive 7-2 but the Huskies could not crack Bourdon and fell by the 2-0 final tally. The Wildcat senior made nine saves to record her 30th career shutout while Wilson stopped 26 pucks for the Huskies.
With the loss, UConn concludes the winningest season in school history at 17-15-3. The Huskies also established a school benchmark this season with 12 Hockey East wins, going 12-7-2 in conference play. The team returns all but four seniors from this year’s squad, meaning that players who produced 157 of UConn’s 207 points this year (76-percent) will be back in blue and white come October.