Faber’s three assists leads ‘Cats to 600th victory

DURHAM, N.H. – Sam Faber (Mt. Sinai, N.Y.) recorded three assists and Kelly Paton (Woodstock, Ontario) scored two goals to lead the third-ranked University of New Hampshire women’s ice hockey team to Saturday afternoon’s 3-1 Hockey East victory against the University of Maine at the Whittemore Center. The win marked the 600th in the 30-year varsity history of the UNH program; the Wildcats, who are the winningest team in U.S. women’s college hockey, have an overall record of 600-155-51.

UNH extended its unbeaten streak to six games (3-0-2) to improve to 17-2-3 overall and remain atop the Hockey East standings at 9-1-0. Maine, winless in 19 consecutive games in this series at 0-16-3, lost its fifth consecutive game overall to fall to 6-12-2, 1-7-2.

Following a scoreless first period in which the Wildcats recorded a 17-4 shot advantage, UNH netted three goals in a span of 4:32 to quickly build a 3-0 lead in the middle stanza.

The combination of Paton and Faber opened the game scoring with a 4x4 goal at 7:34. From the high slot, Faber moved the puck down low to Paton, who scored on a backhander with her back to the net. Jennifer Hitchcock (LaSalle, Ontario), just out of the penalty box at 8:58, scored a power-play goal on a screened shot from the high slot at 9:06 to extend her point-scoring streak to 10 games. Faber and Kacey Bellamy (Westfield, Mass.) were credited with assists.

The duo of Paton and Faber struck again at 12:06 to increase the cushion to 3-0. Paton collected Faber’s pass just outside the offensive zone and maneuvered from the right point to the slot, where she fired a puck into the net.

UNH took that 3-0 advantage and a 36-5 edge in shots into the second intermission. Maine began to generate pressure in the third period. Sonia Corriveau was denied from the slot at 15:30 and two minutes later Vanessa Vani’s shot from the low slot was turned aside by the blocker of UNH goaltender Lucy Schoedel (Ithaca, N.Y.).

Amy Stech ended the shutout bid at 7:23 when she scored off a rebound from Brigitte Laflamme. Corriveau was also credited with an assist.

The goal ended a mark of 247 minutes, 37 seconds in which UNH held Maine scoreless, dating back to last season. The tally also ended Schoedel’s personal shutout streak at 111:17.

UNH was whistled for a penalty with 1:01 to play. Maine called time out and pulled goalie Genevieve Turgeon in favor of an extra skater. Maine sustained mild pressure in the offensive zone but did not score again.

Schoedel finished with 11 saves, including six in the third period. Turgeon recorded double-digit saves in all three periods for the second consecutive game to finish with 46 (17-16-13–46).

New Hampshire returns to action Jan. 20 (1 p.m.) at Dartmouth College. The Wildcats’ next home game is Jan. 28 vs. Providence College. Game time at the Whittemore Center is 2 p.m.