CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. - Kelly Paton (Woodstock, Ontario) recorded four points, including her 100th career assist, to propel the fourth-ranked University of New Hampshire women's ice hockey team to Sunday night's 4-1 victory against Boston College in the regular-season finale at Conte Forum. With the victory UNH finished in a three-way tie for second place in the Hockey East standings and will be the No. 2 seed in the upcoming 8th Annual Hockey East Championship tournament.
UNH improved to 19-7-5 overall and 13-6-2-0 in Hockey East. The Wildcats receive a first-round bye and will play the highest remaining seed in a March 6 semifinal game at Providence College's Schneider Arena. Boston College ends the regular season at 8-16-10, 7-10-4-4 and the sixth-seeded Eagles will play at third-seeded Boston University on Sunday, February 28 at 3:00 p.m. in the quarterfinal round of the Women's Hockey East Tournament.
Paton combined with linemates Micaela Long (South Boston, Mass.) and Kristina Lavoie (Fonthill, Ontario) to record a total of 11 points. Long and Paton both finished with four points on a goal and three assists. The assist and point totals tied personal bests for Paton, while the point total matched Long's career high. Lavoie tallied two goals and an assist to equal her marks in both goals and points.
Paton became the fifth UNH Wildcat to reach the 100-assist milestone with her third of the game. She entered the night with 97 assists and attained the benchmark at 8:06 of the second period, when she set up Lavoie's goal that gave the 'Cats a 4-0 lead.
UNH goaltender Lindsey Minton (Richardson, Texas) made 16 saves, half of which came in the third period, and had her shutout bid spoiled when Allie Thunstrom scored with 18 seconds remaining in the game.
BC starting goalie Corinne Boyles was charged with the loss. She stopped eight shots and exited the game at 13:56 of the first period with BC trailing 3-0. Kiera Kingston went the rest of the way and made 15 saves.
The Wildcats skated to a 3-0 lead in the first period on the strength of two power-play goals. Long corralled the rebound off a Courtney Sheary (Melrose, Mass.) shot in the left corner and slid a pass to Paton cutting through the inner circle. At the end line, Paton fed the puck back to Lavoie and she scored from point-blank range at 6:40.
New Hampshire potted power-play goals 1:52 apart - at 12:04 and 13:56 - to quickly extend its advantage to 3-0. Paton scored off a rebound at the left post to make it a two-goal game. Long, whose initial shot from the right doorstep was stopped by Boyles, and Lavoie set up the game-winning tally.
On the next goal, Raylen Dziengelewski (Southwick, Mass.) chipped the puck forward at the blue line to keep the puck in the offensive zone. Paton collected it in the slot and quickly slid a pass to the right post, where Long redirected a shot into the open side of the net.
In the third minute of the second period, Thunstrom had a breakaway down the slot and wristed a shot that caromed off the right post.
UNH took a 4-0 lead at 8:06. On a faceoff to Kingston's right, Long drew the puck to the slot and Paton fired a shot that was stopped by the BC goalie. Lavoie pulled in the rebound at the top of the crease to score from close range.
With 4:30 remaining in the second stanza, Minton made one of her stronger saves when she extended her right leg pad to deny Danielle Welch, who stole the puck deep in the right circle and quickly sent a shot towards the far post.
Thunstrom, with the assistance of Welch and Shannon Webster, closed the scoring late in the final frame.