GIFFORD, MINTON LIFT NEW HAMPSHIRE PAST DARTMOUTH, 1-0
Freshman forward Nicole Gifford nets game-winner, while junior Lindsey Minto stops 28 shots for Wildcats
DURHAM, N.H. - Lindsey Minton (Richardson, Texas) made 28 saves to record her fourth shutout of the season and Nicole Gifford (Peterborough, Ontario) broke a scoreless tie with 6:12 remaining in the game to lift the University of New Hampshire women's ice hockey team to Saturday afternoon's 1-0 non-conference victory against Dartmouth College at the Whittemore Center.
UNH ended an eight-game losing streak to improve to 9-10-0 while Dartmouth, which had not been shut out this season and entered the game ranked No. 10 nationally in offense (3.20 goals per game), lost its fourth consecutive game to fall to 6-5-0.
Minton, who has seven shutouts in her career, made double-digit saves in both the second (13) and third (10) periods. DC counterpart Whitney Woodcox was credited with 16 saves.
UNH recorded a 6-5 shot advantage in the scoreless first period in which the Big Green tallied four of its shots on three power-play opportunities. The 'Cats generated the best scoring chance - a shorthanded bid - of the opening stanza with just over two minutes remaining. Kristine Horn (Utica, Mich.) deflected a pass in the high slot and raced behind the defense to receive the long outlet pass from Raylen Dziengelewski (Southwick, Mass.). Horn skated down the slot and attempted to tuck a forehand inside the left post, but Woodcox stuffed the low shot with her right leg pad.
The Big Green produced an excellent shorthanded chance in the opening minutes of the second period in a 2-on-2 rush. Jessica Gagner, cutting down the slot, one-timed Sasha Nanji's pass from the right circle but Minton extended her left leg pad to block aside the shot.
With 4:30 to play in the middle stanza, a DC defenseman lost her balance - and the puck - in the slot of the Big Green defensive zone. Kristina Lavoie (Fonthill, Ontario) swept in from the left circle to corral the loose puck and her attempt to lift a shot inside the right post was thwarted by Woodcox.
New Hampshire went on its third power play of the period - fourth of the game - at 19:11 of the second period. Moments later, Courtney Birchard (Mississauga, Ontario) fed a pass across the slot to an unmarked Dziengelewski in the upper-left circle. Woodcox stopped her initial shot and denied Dziengelewski once again off the rebound in the low slot to keep the game scoreless heading into the second intermission.
Dartmouth's penalty carried into the third period and moments after exiting the penalty box, Jenna Hobeika had a breakaway opportunity. Hobeika pulled the puck to her backhand as she shifted towards the right post, but Minton was in position to direct the shot away with her glove.
UNH went on its sixth power play at 11:42 and although the 'Cats did not net a power-play goal, they scored six seconds after it elapsed to take a 1-0 lead. Courtney Sheary (Melrose, Mass.) corralled the puck at the right point and centered a pass to Kailey Chappell (Pickering, Ontario) in the high slot. Chappell's low blast through traffic was stopped by Woodcox but Gifford, positioned in front of the net, grabbed the puck off the rebound and lifted a shot inside the right post at 13:48.
DC pulled Woodcox in favor of an extra skater with 63 seconds remaining in the game and its sustained pressure in the offensive zone produced one shot by Amanda Trunzo that was blocked by Dziengelewski, another by Hobeika that went wide of the cage and one by Nanji from the right circle that Minton controlled with 35 seconds on the clock.
The Big Green called time out at that point and controlled the ensuing faceoff. With 18 seconds on the clock, Chappell deflected an attempted pass from the slot to the left boards. Arielle O'Neill (St Catharines, Ontario) chipped the puck out of the zone to the other end of the ice, and the visitors were unable to reenter the offensive zone in the waning seconds.
UNH's fourth-ranked penalty kill kept Dartmouth's 10th-ranked power play (20.0% entering the game) scoreless on six opportunities. The 'Cats were also 0-for-6 on the power play.
New Hampshire returns to action Sunday, Jan. 9, 2011 at home against Northeastern University. Game time at the Whittemore Center is 2 p.m.