DURHAM, N.H. - Leah Craig (Seaforth, Ontario) recorded three assists and Jennifer Hitchcock (LaSalle, Ontario) scored a pair of power-play goals to lead the third-ranked University of New Hampshire women's ice hockey team to Sunday afternoon's 5-0 Hockey East victory against the University of Maine at the Whittemore Center.
UNH, which tallied a season-high 49 shots while yielding a season-low seven, won its fourth consecutive game and remained undefeated at home (3-0-0) while improving to 3-0-0 in Hockey East. It is the fourth consecutive loss for Maine, now 1-6-1 overall and 0-3-0 in the league.
In addition to the aforementioned Wildcat duo, Sadie Wright-Ward (Durham, N.H.; two assists) and Sam Faber (Mt. Sinai, N.Y.; goal, assist) recorded multiple points. Kelly Paton (Woodstock, Ontario) and Courtney Birchard (Mississauga, Ontario) accounted for UNH's other two goals with tallies 22 seconds apart early in the first period - at 2:17 and 2:49, respectively.
In her seventh career start (second this season), sophomore goaltender Lucy Schoedel (Ithaca, N.Y.) recorded her third career shutout with a seven-save effort. Maine goalie Genevieve Turgeon, who stopped 18 shots in the first period and 17 in the third, finished with 44 saves.
New Hampshire netted three first-period goals for the second consecutive game and raced out to a 3-0 lead three minutes into the game. On the opening shift, Jenn Wakefield (Pickering, Ontario), the reigning Mission Rookie of the Week in Hockey East, carried the puck into the left corner and fed a centering pass into the low slot that Faber redirected under the crossbar to give the 'Cats the lead on the first shot of the game, which came just 12 seconds after the opening faceoff.
Faber helped extend the lead to 2-0 when her pass down the slot set up Paton low on the left side. The 'Cats struck again quickly when the puck moved quickly from Kacey Bellamy (Westfield, Mass.) at the right point down low to Craig, who then found Birchard in the slot.
Maine called time out at that point but UNH continued its barrage on Turgeon as Birchard's shot from the right circle caromed off the right post at 4:30 and then Nicole Goguen's (Truro, Nova Scotia) bid from the right point sailed through traffic and off the left post. Near period's end, Bellamy's shot from the right point ricocheted off the far post. At the other end of the ice, the only two first-period shots Schoedel had to turn aside were dump-ins from the neutral zone.
Maine went on the first power play of the game at 1:20 of the second period, then gained a two-skater advantage for 44 seconds when another Wildcat was sent to the penalty box at 2:36. Just as the second penalty was expiring, Maine generated a 2-on-1 rush in which Jenna Ouellette's shot from deep in the right circle was stopped by Schoedel.
The Black Bears went back on the power play almost immediately - at 4:48 - and moments after that ended Ouellette was once again denied by Schoedel, this time from the left side.
UNH went on its second power-play opportunity at 15:11 and Hitchcock's tally - a redirection in the low slot - at 16:34 extended the Wildcats' advantage to 4-0. Wright-Ward, with the shot from the right point, and Craig, with the cross-ice pass from the left circle, set up the goal.
Hitchcock netted her second goal of the night, this time from the slot, at 10:18 of the third period to increase the lead to 5-0. The sequence began when Birchard's blast from the right point sailed wide of the cage and the puck caromed behind the net to the left side, where Craig centered the puck and Wright-Ward tapped it across the slot to Hitchcock.
UNH finished the game 2-for-5 on the power play and 5-for-5 on the penalty kill.
New Hampshire returns to action Nov. 1 (7 p.m.) at Boston University. The Wildcats next home game is Nov. 7 (7 p.m.), a game against Boston College that opens an eight-game homestand. Tickets for all home games are available online at www.unhwildcats.com or by calling 866-WILDCAT. Fans will also be able to watch the games online at UNHwildcats.tv.