Wildcats erase 2-0 deficit; Sophomore defenseman Maggie Hunt nets game-winner

Sophomore defenseman Maggie Hunt scores the overtime game-winner for the Wildcats

DURHAM, N.H. - Maggie Hunt (Naperville, Ill.) scored a power-play goal 41 seconds into overtime to lift the University of New Hampshire women's ice hockey team to Tuesday night's 3-2 non-conference victory against Union College at the Whittemore Center.

UNH, playing its third game in five days, won its second consecutive game to improve to 6-9-2 overall, 3-3-1 at home at 4-1-1 against teams from the ECAC. Union fell to 3-11-1 with its fourth consecutive loss.

Nicole Gifford (Ennismore, Ontario) and Kristine Horn (Utica, Mich.) both matched a personal best of two assists; it marked the second consecutive two-assist effort for Horn. UNH goaltender Jenn Gilligan (Maple Ridge, British Columbia) made 15 saves while Union counterpart Shenae Lundberg stopped 29 shots, including 10 in both the second and third periods and one in overtime.

The Wildcats, who trailed 2-0 through two periods, recorded a 12-3 shot advantage in the third period and scored twice to force the extra session. Kristina Lavoie (Fonthill, Ontario) trimmed the deficit to 2-1 at 9:20 when she collected Gifford's pass deep in the left circle, maneuvered across the low slot and tucked a bankhander into the open right side of the net.

In the 12th minute, Union's Bryanne Panchuk led a 2-on-1 rush down the left wing and she threw the puck to the slot, where Nicole Bartlett fired a one-timer that Gilligan kicked aside with her extended left leg pad.

UNH went on a power play at 11:49 and produced an excellent scoring chance 30 seconds later when Gifford's pass across the crease found Jenna Lascelle (Cornwall, Ontario) at the left post, but Lundberg slid across to deny Lascelle.

New Hampshire leveled the score, 2-2, at 13:50. From the right point, Horn fired a hard, low diagonal pass that Heather Kashman (Edmonton, Alberta) redirected inside the left post. Lascelle was also credited with an assist on the play.

With 29 seconds remaining in regulation, Lavoie was stationed in the slot and drew a hooking infraction against the Dutchwomen. Ludnberg denied Gifford in the closing seconds to send the game into overtime.

UNH opened OT with 1 minute, 31 seconds remaining on its fourth power play of the night. Lundberg stopped an early shot by Hunt, but the 'Cats maintained possession and cycled the puck to Horn in the high slot. She slid a pass to the top of the right circle to Gifford, who quickly sent the puck across the slot and Hunt's low shot from the hashmarks ricocheted off the left post into the net to complete the Wildcats' comeback effort.

Union took a 1-0 lead at 7:40 of the first period when Panchuk stole the puck deep in the left circle, skated to the front of the net and lifted a shot inside the right post despite being hooked by a UNH defender. The Dutchwomen immediately went on the power play because of that hooking infraction, but the Wildcats' penalty kill unit did not yield a shot in the next two minutes to keep the deficit at one goal.

UNH went on its first power play at 14:06, and in the waning seconds of that skater advantage Horn's shot from the high slot beat Lundberg but ricocheted off the right post. Seconds later, Lavoie jammed the puck in the net from the top of the crease, but a Wildcat skater played the puck with a high stick behind the net to negate the play.

With 40 seconds remaining in the first period, Lavoie's wrister from the left circle deflected off Lundberg's glove and the crossbar to keep the score 1-0 in favor of Union.

In the opening minutes of the second stanza, Union's Molly Kate Devin was denied by Gilligan at the left doorstep. The rebound sailed high in the crease and was batted aside by Lavoie.

The Dutchwomen extended the lead to 2-0 at 5:30 when Christine Valente scored a power-play goal from a scrum in front of the net. Rhianna Kurio was credited with an assist.

UNH finished the game with a 32-15 shot advantage. Both teams went 1-for-4 on the power play.

New Hampshire concludes its four-game homestand Dec. 3 with the first game of a home-and-home series against 10th-ranked Northeastern University. The teams face off again Dec. 4 at Matthews Arena. Both games begin at 2 p.m.. Saturday's game at the Whittemore Center is part of the annual Wildcat Toy Drive; fans are encouraged to donate an unwrapped toy.