Senior defenseman Courtney Birchard scores game-winning goal for Wildcats

Picking up a rebound of a Katie Brock shot, Courtney Birchard tucks in the game-winning goal

BOSTON, Mass. - Three Huskies notched multiple points, but Courtney Birchard scored 16 seconds into overtime to give New Hampshire a 4-3 victory over No. 9 Northeastern on Saturday afternoon at Matthews Arena.

Northeastern (13-7-4, 5-5-3 Hockey East) twice battled back to tie the game, with Lori Antflick evening the score at 3-3 7:35 into the third period. Antflick (1-1-2), Siena Falino (0-2-2) and Kristi Kehoe (1-1-2) combined for six points. Florence Schelling made 25 saves in the loss while Kayley Herman stopped 40 shots for New Hampshire (11-12-0, 4-9-0 Hockey East).

Birchard scored after Katie Brock fired a shot from the left point that Schelling stopped. The senior defenseman was alone for the rebound and slid it into the open net for the win.

New Hampshire scored first 5:39 into the first period when Kristina Lavoie picked up her seventh goal of the season. Arielle O'Neill began the play from the left corner and found Lavoie, who stuffed the puck past Schelling.

The Wildcats extended their lead to 2-0 at the 14:52 mark of the first frame when Emma Clark led a 2-on-1 rush and passed across the ice to Sarah Campbell who beat Schelling for her third goal of the season.

Two minutes later, the Huskies responded with a goal of their own. After a flurry in front of Herman, Kehoe got a stick on the puck and snuck the puck past Herman to make it 2-1.

In the second period, Schelling made a nifty right pad save after a delayed penalty as a Wildcat skater beat the defense and was in alone on the Swiss netminder. Shortly after that save the Huskies took another penalty and were forced to kill off a 5-on-3 Wildcat advantage for 1:23, which they did successfully.

The penalty kill sparked the Northeastern offense and at the 11:12 mark of the second stanza the Huskies tied the game. Alyssa Wohlfeiler fed Claire Santostefano, who corralled the puck with her skate in the right faceoff circle and dished the puck back to Rachel Llanes in the slot, who wristed one past Herman to make it a 2-2 game.

The score remained 2-2 until the 3:02 mark of the third period. O'Neill forced a turnover and skated alone on Schelling before lighting the lamp for the ninth time this season.

Just over four minutes later, the line of Antflick, Kehoe and Falino once again tied the score. Kehoe came from behind the net and threw the puck toward the crease. After Herman made the initial save, Antflick picked up the loose puck and deposited it for her fourth tally of the season.

It was the first overtime loss of the season for the Huskies and the first loss at home to a team other than Boston College. The victory marked the first win for the Wildcats over Northeastern since the teams met at Fenway Park on Jan. 8, 2010.

Northeastern returns to action on Sunday afternoon when they travel to the Bog in Kingston, Mass. to faceoff against the No. 9 Providence College Friars. The puck is scheduled to drop in front of a sold out crowd at 4 p.m.

Skating Strides
Captains take faceoff from Friends of Mel President Pauline Alighieri on Skating Strides day at Matthews Arena.