DURHAM, N.H. - Kristine Horn (Utica, Mich.) and Arielle O'Neill (St. Catharines, Ontario) scored second-period goals, but the University of New Hampshire women's ice hockey team couldn't overcome a three-goal deficit in Sunday afternoon's 4-2 loss to Northeastern University at the Whittemore Center.
UNH, which had not faced off against an opponent since defeating Dartmouth College, 1-0, on Dec. 11, 2010, is now 9-11-0 overall and 2-8-0 in Hockey East. Northeastern, which recorded a 4-0 win at the Whittemore Center against the Wildcats back in early December, improved to 12-5-4, 4-3-3.
New Hampshire goaltender Lindsey Minton (Richardson, Texas) made 29 saves, including 13 in the first period, in 57:14 of action. NU counterpart Leah Sulyma stopped 26 shots, including all 10 she faced in the final frame. Casie Fields (goal, assist), Lori Antflick (two assists) and Rachel Llanes (two assists) each had multiple points for the Huskies.
The visitors skated to a 3-0 lead in the first period on the strength of a 16-7 shot advantage. Fields scored at 3:21 when her bounding shot from the left point eluded Minton; Llanes, with a pass from the half-boards, set up the goal.
NU continued to pressure and extended the advantage to 2-0 at 6:27 when Siena Falino pushed the puck into the net from a scrum in front of the net. Minton had turned aside Antflick's initial shot as well as Stephanie Gavronsky's bid off the rebound.
Kehoe initiated and finished the scoring sequence that gave the Huskies a 3-0 lead at 11:48. She won the faceoff in the left circle towards the boards and Antflick swung the puck back to Fields at the left point. Minton stopped that slap shot, but Kehoe corralled the rebound at the left post and deposited the puck into the open near side of the net.
UNH struck early in the second period to pull within 3-1. Julie Allen (Brampton, Ontario) skated behind the net and centered a pass in the low slot to Nicole Gifford (Peterborough, Ontario). With her back to the net, Gifford backhanded a low shot that was blocked down by Sulyma. Horn corralled the rebound just off the right post and lifted a shot into the net for her third goal of the season.
The Huskies went on their second power play of the game at 5:52. UNH generated a dangerous shorthanded opportunity, however, when Gifford had a breakaway down the slot but her wrister from the hashes was snared by Sulyma's glove. Less than 30 seconds later, Casey Pickett scored to reestablish a three-goal lead of 4-1 at 7:05. Alyssa Wohlfeiler's pass from the right circle was deflected in the slot, but Llanes controlled the loose puck just off the left post and backhanded a pass to the low slot, where an unmarked Casey Pickett redirected a shot into the open net.
The Wildcats responded with a power-play goal 51 seconds later (at 7:56) to trim the deficit to 4-2. Courtney Sheary (Melrose, Mass.) blasted a waist-high shot from the right boards that O'Neill, who was position at the right post, deflected past Sulyma into the cage. Kristina Lavoie (Fonthill, Ontario) was also credited with an assist.
Midway through the second stanza, the 'Cats created another dangerous scoring chance. Raylen Dziengelewski (Southwick, Mass.) put a knuckler on net from the right point and the rebound went to Sarah Cuthbert (East Falmouth, Mass.) at the doorstep, but Sulyma made a left-leg pad save to preserve the two-goal lead.
New Hampshire trailed by that 4-2 score in the opening minutes of the third period when Sheary stole the puck at the right point and made a centering pass to Allen, whose shot from the slot was gloved by Sulyma.
The 'Cats had another dangerous chance midway through the final frame when Hannah Armstrong (Aurora, Ontario) picked up a loose puck behind the net and her backhanded wraparound shot at the right post was stopped by Sulyma.
NU was whistled for a minor penalty at 17:14, at which time UNH called time out and pulled Minton in favor of an extra skater when play resumed to create a two-skater advantage. The Wildcats could not sustain pressure in the offensive zone, however, and recorded just one shot before the penalty expired. Minton remained on the bench the rest of the period and her teammates tallied one more shot on Sulyma during those final 46 seconds.
New Hampshire concludes its four-game homestand Jan. 14 against Providence College and the teams face off again Jan. 15 at PC's Schneider Arena. Both games begin at 7 p.m.