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DURHAM, N.H. - Senior forward Micaela Long (South Boston, Mass.) registered a goal and an assist to lift the No. 5 University of New Hampshire women's hockey team to a 3-1 victory against the University of Connecticut on Saturday afternoon in its season opener at the Whittemore Center.
The Wildcats, who extended their unbeaten streak in the series vs. UConn to 14 games (12-0-2), open the season 1-0-0 overall and 1-0-0-0 in Hockey East, while the Huskies are 0-1-0, 0-1-0-0.
The teams skated to a scoreless deadlock in the first period, with New Hampshire garnering the most chances early in the contest, registering eight shots to UConn's three in the first stanza.
New Hampshire came close to drawing first blood in the 11th minute when Raylen Dziengelewski (Southwick, Mass.) forwarded a pass over to an open Kristine Horn (Utica, Mich.) at the top of the crease. She attempted to put the puck past UConn goaltender Alexandra Garcia but was turned away. Moments later, Dziengelewski would try her own luck against Garcia as she fired a shot from the right circle but was fought off once against by the netminder.
Despite the flurry of early shots by the Wildcats, the Huskies would make the most of their early opportunity in the second period as Brittany Murphy picked up a pass from Cristin Allen, skated across the blue line into the low slot and put the puck past UNH goalie Lindsey Minton (Richardson, Texas) at 1:24.
The Wildcats would respond firing on all cylinders as they put together several scoring chances, totaling 12 shots in the period while holding UConn at bay with just four.
New Hampshire wouldn't waste much time making the most of those opportunities either as they would strike back with a goal of its own on the power play after Long and Kelly Paton (Woodstock, Ontario) both tried putting the puck in the back of the net at the top of the crease but were turned aside by Garcia on both attempts. Kelly Cahill (Farmington Hills, Mich.) would seize the opportunity as she picked up the puck off Long's deflected shot and punched it into the net from the left doorstep at 9:54 to tie the score, 1-1.
The Wildcats would add another goal later in the period as Long received a forward pass from Bryanna Farris (Carleton Place, Ontario) and fired a laser shot from the top of the left circle to give UNH a 2-1 advantage at 18:39. The assist marked Farris’ first career point.
New Hampshire wouldn't turn back in the final stanza as Brittany Skudder (Plainview, N.Y.) picked up a loose puck and pushed it up ice to Kristina Lavoie (Fonthill, Ontario) on the left wing, and she crossed the puck across the ice to an unmarked Julie Allen (Brampton, Ontario) at the top of the right circle. Allen, in turn, flipped the puck past Garcia at 5:17 to help secure the win for the 'Cats and give both Skudder and Lavoie their first career points.
Minton compiled 12 saves in the contest for the Wildcats, while Garcia tallied 27 of her own for the Huskies. Horn led the Wildcats with five shots, while Long, Allen and Dziengelewski each notched three of their own.
UNH has a 28-3-2 overall record in season openers, and that includes 13-2-1 at home (5-1-1 at the Whittemore Center). The Wildcats are 7-0-1 in the last eight season-opening games.
The Wildcats return to action when they play host to Quinnipiac University on Sunday, Oct. 4 (2 p.m.). Tickets for all women's ice hockey home games are available at the Whittemore Center Box Office, online at www.unhwildcats.com, or by calling Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000. Season tickets are available by calling 603-862-4000, ext. 5.