Senior defenseman Courtney Birchard nets game-tying goal for Wildcats

Senior defenseman Courtney Birchard scored the game-tying goal for the Wildcats

HAMDEN, Conn. - Courtney Birchard (Mississauga, Ontario) scored with 7:15 remaining in regulation and Kayley Herman (Weyburn, Saskatchewan) made 24 saves to lift the University of New Hampshire women's ice hockey team to Tuesday night's 1-1 non-conference tie against Quinnipiac University at the TD Bank Sports Center.

UNH is now 2-1-1 in overtime and 13-14-1 overall. Quinnipiac moves to 18-10-2.

QU goalie Victoria Vigilanti was also credited with 24 saves, including five in the five-minute overtime session. Herman stopped two shots in OT.

In the scoreless first period, UNH generated a 5-1 shot advantage in the opening five minutes but the Bobcats gained momentum midway through the stanza - after the Wildcats killed off a QU power play - to finish with a 9-6 edge through 20 minutes. Herman turned aside five shots from close range, including two off the stick of Erica Uden Johansson.

New Hampshire generated a rush in the opening minute of the second period and Sarah Campbell (Saratoga Springs, N.Y.) snapped a shot from the left doorstep that was snared by Vigilanti's glove. In the eighth minute, Kristina Lavoie (Fonthill, Ontario) left the puck in the left circle for the charging Raylen Dziengelewski (Southwick, Mass.), who carried the puck behind the net and was stopped by Vigilanti on a wraparound attempt at the right post.

The Bobcats took a 1-0 lead at 8:06 of the second stanza. Kelly Babstock kept the puck in the offensive zone at the left point to create a 2-on-1 opportunity. She skated wide and her pass across the low slot was chipped into the open right side of the net by Amanda Colin.

Midway through the frame, Lavoie led a rush down the center of the ice and maneuvered past three Bobcats. She flipped the puck towards the left post but a QU skater cleared the puck out of the crease before Armstrong could direct it towards the open net.

With UNH still trailing 1-0 early in the third period, Courtney Sheary (Melrose, Mass.) advanced from the left point to the corner and flipped a waist-high pass to the low slot that Armstrong chopped down out of the air, but Vigilanti was in position for the save.

The Wildcats went on their second power play of the game at 6:24 and, just as it expired, Julie Allen (Brampton, Ontario) one-timed a shot from the slot that Vigilanti kicked aside with her extended left leg pad.

With 8:45 remaining in regulation, Dziengelewski circled behind the net to the left post and her pass across the crease was just out of the outstretched reach of Allen, who had an open right side of the net.

New Hampshire tied the score, 1-1, at 12:45 of the third period. Kailey Chappell (Pickering, Ontario) moved the puck from the right point down to Arielle O'Neill (St Catherines, Ontario), who skated low and snapped a pass across the low slot that the oncoming Birchard redirected high into the open left side of the net.

Quinnipiac generated a 2-on-1 rush led by Babstock down the right side, but Birchard's sliding effort blocked the puck behind the cage to help preserve the tie with four minutes on the clock in the final frame.

With 90 seconds to play in regulation, Lavoie headed a 2-on-2 rush in which she left a drop pass in the slot for Armstrong, who snapped a wrister that Vigilanti caught in her glove.

UNH was whistled for too many skaters on the ice with 21.9 seconds remaining in overtime, but the quartet of Birchard, Dziengelewski, Lavoie and O'Neill gained control of the puck and did not allow the home team to get a shot on goal.

New Hampshire returns to action Feb. 11 (7 p.m.) & 12 (4 p.m.) for a two game series at the University of Vermont. The Wildcats conclude the regular season with a home-and home series against Boston College the following weekend. UNH's Senior Day at the Whittemore Center is the Feb. 20 (4 p.m.) regular-season finale.