DURHAM, N.H. - In a battle for first place in the Hockey East standings, Shannon Clement (Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario) and Jennifer Hitchcock (LaSalle, Ontario) netted second-period goals 83 seconds apart to propel the fifth-ranked University of New Hampshire women's ice hockey team to Saturday afternoon's 4-2 Hockey East victory against ninth-ranked Boston College at the Whittemore Center.
UNH, 9-0-1 in the last 10 Hockey East games, vaulted ahead of BC in the league standings with 25 points by virtue of a 12-1-1 record. The Wildcats reached 20 wins for the fifth consecutive year under head coach Brian McCloskey by improving to 20-3-4 overall. BC, the only Hockey East school to defeat New Hampshire this season, is now in second place with 24 points (12-5-0) and is 18-7-2 overall.
Following a scoreless first period, BC took a 1-0 lead at 5:50 of the second period when Becky Zavisza's shot from the right circle ricocheted off UNH goaltender Melissa Bourdon (Ile Bizard, Quebec) into the net.
The Wildcats, who had controlled play in the stanza to that point, continued to carry play after falling behind and broke through with two quick goals to take a 2-1 lead into the second intermission. On the tying goal, the initial low shot from the slot by Lindsey Caleo (Clinton Township, Mich.) hit Clement at the top of the crease. Clement gained possession, turned and fired the puck into the open left side of the net at 13:01.
Hitchcock netted her team-leading 20th goal of the season - her 12th on the power play -- to give the 'Cats a lead of 2-1 that they would not relinquish. Nicole Hekle (Winnipeg, Manitoba) initiated the scoring sequence with a pass from behind the net to Leah Craig (Seaforth, Ontario) in the right circle. Craig moved the puck to the high slot, where Nicole Goguen (Truro, Nova Scotia) fired a high shot that was tipped in the slot by Hitchcock into the net.
New Hampshire extended its advantage to 3-1 on a similar play at 6:56 of the third period. Kelly Paton (Woodstock, Ontario) passed the puck from the right circle to the high slot, where Goguen rifled a shot that was tipped in the slot by Steph Holmes (Rye, N.Y.) into the net. Goguen, who entered the game without a point on the season, matched her career highs in both assists (two) and points (two).
The Eagles pulled within 3-2 at 12:12 when Allie Thunstrom (goal, assist) collected Deb Spillane's long outlet pass through the neutral zone behind UNH's defense to break in alone from the left point towards the low slot and beat Bourdon.
BC called time out with 2:38 to play and pulled goalie Molly Schaus in favor of an extra skating with 2:11 remaining. With 30 seconds left, Bourdon denied Maggie Taverna from the slot and Meghan Fardelmann off the rebound to preserve UNH's one-goal lead.
From the right circle, Craig fired the puck into an empty net with one second remaining to close the scoring.
UNH held a 12-11 shot advantage in the first period and a 30-10 edge the rest of the game.
Bourdon recorded 11 of her 19 saves in the first period. Schaus recorded double digits saves every period (12-16-10) to finish with 38.
New Hampshire returns to action Feb. 10 (2 p.m.) at Northeastern. The next Wildcat home game is Senior Day vs. UConn on Feb. 18.