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HAMILTON, N.Y. - The fifth-ranked University of New Hampshire women's ice hockey team recorded a 34-2 shot advantage in the third period, but the Wildcats' comeback bid fell short in a 5-4 loss to Colgate University on Saturday afternoon at Starr Rink.
UNH, which had won all four previous games in the series against Colgate, is now 8-4-3 overall and CU is 8-7-1.
Trailing 4-2 at the start of the third period, the Wildcats opened immediately with pressure that produced a shot from Kelly Paton (Woodstock, Ontario) and another off the rebound by Jenn Wakefield (Pickering, Ontario), both of which were turned aside by Colgate goaltender Kimberly Sass. Moments later, Micaela Long (South Boston, Mass.) connected with Raylen Dziengelewski (Southwick, Mass.) cutting down the slot, but she was also turned aside by Sass.
With UNH on the power play in the fifth minute, Sass denied Kacey Bellamy (Westfield, Mass.) on a screened shot from the high slot and then Wakefield, at the top of the crease, swept the puck off the rebound wide left. Moments later, Wakefield, who had 14 shots in the final frame, was once again denied from close range. In the closing seconds of the power play, Sass also denied Shannon Sisk (Pipersville, Pa.) at the front doorstep.
The Wildcats went on their fifth power play of the game - third of the third period - at 8:01 and pulled within 4-3 on Wakefield's fifth power-play goal of the year at 9:24. Bellamy initiated the sequence with a pass from the high slot to the right point, where Birchard's low shot was stopped by Sass. Wakefield, again anchored at the top of the crease, corralled the rebound and slid the puck inside the left post.
In a rare Raiders' breakout in the third period, Sam Hunt's shot from the left circle was tipped in the slot into the upper-right corner of the net by Jessi Waters at 14:25 to give Colgate a 5-3 lead.
UNH called time out at 17:35, which was the start of their sixth power play. With just over two minutes remaining, UNH goalie Kayley Herman (Weyburn, Saskatchewan) was pulled to give the Wildcats a two-skater advantage. The 'Cats sustained pressure and scored at 18:27 to trim the deficit to 5-4. Bellamy once again started the play with a pass from the high slot to the right point, where Taylor's shot deflected off Maggie Joyce (Hudson, Ohio) to Paton at the right post. Paton's initial attempt to jam the puck in was stopped by Sass, but Paton lifted the rebound into the net.
Herman was pulled again with 80 seconds to play. Moments later, Paton, again stationed at the right post, had a shot ricochet off Sass and the right post. The 'Cats continued to pressure with a pair of blasts from the right point by Taylor and another from the high slot by Bellamy.
With 13 seconds to play, Colgate won a faceoff and cleared the zone to secure the victory.
Herman finished with 20 saves while Sass stopped 43 shots, including 32 in the third period.
Following a scoreless first period, Colgate took a 1-0 lead at 2:23 of the middle stanza when Elin Brown fired a shot from the left circle between Herman's leg pads. Midway through the period, Herman made a glove save on Hannah Milan's shot from the left circle and then turned aside Milan's screened shot off the ensuing faceoff.
New Hampshire pulled even, 1-1, with Paton's first power-play goal of the game at 11:44. Bellamy move the puck from the high slot to Sam Faber (Mt. Sinai, N.Y.) low on the left side. Faber slid a pass across the slot to an unmarked Paton at the right post and she tapped the puck into the open near side.
Evan Minnick put the Raiders back in front, 2-1, at 14:45 when her shot from the right circle sailed into the upper-right corner of the net.
Birchard tied the score just 11 seconds later on a shot from the top of the crease. Taylor and Wakefield were credited with assists.
Colgate potted power-play goals 12 seconds apart - at 17:49 and 18:01 - to build a 4-2 lead. The Raiders regained the lead when Clancy Todd moved the puck from the right circle to Beth Rotenberg down low, and then Marissa Dombovy scored from the low slot. Moments later, Herman stopped Dombovy's initial shot from the left circle but Minnick scored off the rebound in front.
Herman was sharp in the first period with nine saves, including a stop on Clancy Todd's one-timer from the slot in the fourth minute. UNH generated some pressure midway through the first when Birchard drove the slot and fired a shot turned away by Sass' left leg pad. In the 15th minute, Wakefield's initial shot was stopped by Sass and Wakefield's bid off the rebound trickled wide left.
New Hampshire returns to action Dec. 5 at home against Harvard University. The game, which will feature UNH athletics' Operation Hat Trick endeavor, begins at 7 p.m. Visit www.unhwildcats.com to learn more about Operation Hat Trick and/or to purchase tickets.