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BURLINGTON, Vt. -- A late third period goal by Celeste Doucet (Memramcook, New Brunswick) and strong goaltending by Kristen Olychuck (Kelowna, B.C.) lifted Vermont to a 2-1 win over third-place Providence in women's Hockey East action at Gutterson Fieldhouse Saturday night. The victory was the first for the Catamounts in league play this season and stopped an 18-game overall winless drought. It also is UVM's first-ever win in 15 tries over the Friars, one of the charter members of Hockey East.
"This is a huge win for us and I am extremely pleased for the girls, they have worked so hard this season on getting better" said Vermont coach Tim Bothwell. "We played pretty good hockey in both games this weekend and now have something to show for it. In goal, Kristen (Olychuck) has found her game again after a couple of off nights around the holidays. This gives us great momentum for our trip to Boston next weekend."
Olychuck was outstanding in goal stopping 30 of 31 shots including all 12 in the deciding third period. Vermont took the lead with 3:09 to go as strong forechecking by Teddy Fortin (Brunswick, Maine) forced a loose puck behind the PC net. Doucet, a freshman, grabbed the puck and her wrap-around stunned Providence goaltender Jennifer Smith for her fourth goal of the season and her first career game-winner.
Vermont's team defense, led by Olychuck, then survived a heavy PC attack down the stretch that included killing a penalty over the final 1:47.
Like it did last night in a hard-fought 3-2 loss to PC, Vermont battled back from an early deficit. Jean O'Neill opened the scoring for the Friars just after a Cats penalty expired at 15:41 of the first period. The Catamounts tied it with 1:19 left in the frame as Brittany Nelson (Shelburne, Vt.) and Melanie Greene (Queensbury, N.Y.) set up Molly Morrison (South Burlington, Vt.) in front for her team-high sixth goal of the season.
Providence out-shot the Catamounts, 31-12, and despite the wide margin, UVM (5-18-1, 1-9-1 Hockey East) still had several good scoring chances that went wide or high of the mark. Neither team was able to score on the power play. Vermont was 0-for-3 and killed all five PC opportunities.
Smith finished with 10 saves for the Friars (11-10-3, 6-3-2). A native of St. Albans, Vt., Smith was one of five Green Mountain State natives skating in the game. Others were PC's Stephanie Morris of South Burlington and three Catamounts, Nelson, Morrison and Chelsea Furlani (Colchester, Vt.).
Vermont is at Boston College next Friday and Saturday with both games starting at 2:00pm. The Cats next home game is on Friday, Feb. 8 when they host Boston University at 7:00pm at Gutterson Fieldhouse. For ticket information, please contact the UVM Athletic Ticket Office at 1-866- 4CAT-TIX or log on to uvmathletics.com. UVM students (with a valid ID) and all Rally's Round Up members are admitted free to all home women's hockey games.