Sophomore forward Nicole Gifford nets game-tying goal for Wildcats

Sophomore forward Nicole Gifford picked up the game-tying goal for the Wildcats

CANTON, N.Y. - Sophomore assistant captain Nicole Gifford (Ennismore, Ontario) leveled the score in the third period and Jenn Gilligan (Maple Ridge, British Columbia) made a career-high 28 saves to lead the University of New Hampshire women's ice hockey team to Friday afternoon's 2-2 tie against St. Lawrence University at Appleton Arena.

UNH moved to 3-2-2 on the season, including 2-1-1 on the road, and SLU remained unbeaten at 3-0-2.

The Saints jumped out to a 1-0 lead at 8:31 of the first period when Jacqueline Wand lifted a shot past Gilligan. SLU was awarded a penalty shot at 10:06, but Gilligan made a sprawling pad save to deny Vanessa Emond and keep the Wildcats' deficit at one goal.

UNH recorded a 9-6 shot advantage in the first period but trailed by that 1-0 score at the first intermission.

In the opening minute of the second stanza, Kristina Lavoie (Fonthill, Ontario) was stoned by SLU goalie Carmen MacDonald (30 saves) from pointblank range.

St. Lawrence extended its lead to 2-0 on a Rylee Smith power-play goal at 16:44 of the second period. Michelle Ng set up the tally with a pass to Smith, whose wrister caromed of the crossbar and continued into the net.

New Hampshire quickly pulled back within one goal, 2-1, at 18:13. MacDonald made the initial save against Arielle O'Neill (St. Catharines, Ontario), but Emma Clark (East Barre, Vt.) corralled the loose puck off the rebound and snapped a wrist shot past MacDonald for her first goal as a Wildcat.

SLU pressured on a power play early in the third period but Gilligan denied Alley Bero on a breakaway - Gilligan stopped all 14 shots in the final frame - and then Amanda Boulier hit the post.

Hannah Armstrong (Newmarket, Ontario) had a flurry of chances in the seventh minute, but MacDonald turned aside all three shots to preserve the Saints' one-goal advantage.

UNH went on the power play at 7:17 and capitalized on that skater advantage to level the score, 2-2, at 7:46. MacDonald made the initial saves against both Kristine Horn (Utica, Mich.) and Lavoie, but Heather Kashman (Edmonton, Alberta) controlled the rebound and slid a pass to Gifford, whose one-timer beat MacDonald.

SLU, which called time out at 10:03, had a power play at 14:24 but Gilligan turned aside four shots spanning the next two minutes while the 'Cats were shorthanded.

The teams ended regulation tied at 2 with UNH holding a 32-27 shot advantage.

The 'Cats were whistled for hooking at 1:32, but the penalty kill unit limited St. Lawrence to just one power-play shot during that skater advantage.

Gilligan stopped all three shots in the five-minute extra session. UNH did not record a shot on goal, as the only attempted shot by Katie Brock (Marblehead, Mass.) was blocked by an SLU skater.

UNH finished the game 1-for-7 on the power play while St. Lawrence went 1-for-9.

New Hampshire returns to action Oct. 22 (2 p.m.) at Clarkson University. The Wildcats' next home game is Nov. 3 against the University of Vermont. Game time at the Whittemore Center is 7 p.m.