STORRS, Conn. (Feb. 21, 2009) - The University of Connecticut women's ice hockey Senior Day celebrations were dampened by a 4-3 loss to No. 5 New Hampshire on Saturday afternoon. The 10th ranked Huskies were tied with the leader of the Hockey East until the final minutes of the third period.
Prior to the puck drop, the 2009 senior class were acknowledged for the commitment and dedication to the Connecticut women's ice hockey program. Head coach Heather Linstad expressed to the crowd the importance of each of the five team members set to graduate in may, including Samantha Reid (Innisfil, Ont./Toronto Jr. Aeros Inter. AA), Kristen Russell (Dauphin, Man./Parkland Panthers), Nicole Tritter (Toronto, Ont./Toronto Jr. Aeros Inter. AA), Brianna Uliasz (Chalfont, Pa./Taft School) and Brittany Wilson (Nepean, Ont./Ottawa Inter. AA).
The Huskies started the scoring in the game, outshooting the visiting UNH squad 6-3 in the opening 20 minutes.
Jessica Lutz (Rockville, Md./Washington Christian Academy) brought the puck into the New Hampshire zone and fed it to Brittany Murphy (Tewksbury, Mass./Lawrence Academy) who put it on net only to collect her own rebound. Murphy dished it to Lauren LeMond (Vista, Calif./Pacific View Charter) who scored the first goal of her collegiate career to give UConn a 1-0 edge at 14:31.
The Huskies held New Hampshire to just three shots on goal with Ray Dziengelewski stopped by the blocker of Wilson in the waning seconds of the first period.
New Hampshire was assessed a bench minor for too many players on the ice during its first power-play opportunity of the game. The Huskies, originally facing entering the second stanza down a skater, entered the second 20 minutes in a four-on-four situation with a one-goal lead.
Following the expiration of the four-on-four, UConn capitalized on the power play with Russell netting her third of the season with the man advantage. With the assists from Amy Hollstein (Pembroke, Mass./Lawrence Academy) and Cristin Allen (Pickering, Ont./Durham Lighting), UConn was ahead by two.
The margin did not last for long as the Wildcat's Julie Allen scored less than a minute and a half later for the 2-1 score. The spree continued with Monique Weber (Rogers, Minn./Elk Rivers High) scoring her 10th of the season to recapture the two-goal lead. Fellow rookie Sami Evelyn (Nepean, Ont./NCCP Ottawa Inter. AA) passed the puck ahead into the offensive zone where Tritter dished it off to Weber in the lane.
UConn led 3-1 with just over 15 minutes remaining in the second period before UNH rallied back and scored three times. Kelly Paton led the Wildcats rally with a goal at 8:28 and assists on the final two goals.
Kacey Bellamy tied the game at 11:01 with a power-play goal for the Wildcats. All was quiet for the remainder of the second period, despite UNH outshooting the Huskies 12-5.
Each squad had solid opportunities with Wilson's quick glove stopping the initial game-winning hopes of Paton and UNH leading goal scorer, Jenn Wakefield after the second intermission.
Weber had several good looks, but rookie netminder Lindsey Minton would remain perfect between the pipes this season. Minton earned her ninth win of the year when with less than two minutes remaining in the final period of regulation Wakefield scored her 30th goal of the season.
Wakefield's mark went unmatched as time expired and UNH prevailed to its first Hockey East victory over Connecticut this season, 4-3.
The regular-season concludes for both teams at Whittemore Arena on Sunday afternoon. Face-off is set for 2 p.m.
- Today's game was Cristin Allen's 100th career game. Allen leads the Huskies with 21 assists this.
- Kristen Russell's power play goal gave UConn its first goal with the man advantage in four games. The Huskies went three games without a power-play goal, just the second time this season UConn has gone three without one.
- The last time UNH and UConn faced off in October, the Huskies were ranked 10th in the nation in both polls and UNH was ranked four in one and five in the other.