Junior forward Kristina Lavoie collects first career hat trick for Wildcats

Junior forward Kristina Lavoie tips in the game's first goal for the Wildcats

DURHAM, N.H. - Kristina Lavoie (Fonthill, Ontario) recorded her first career hat trick to lift the University of New Hampshire women's ice hockey team to Saturday afternoon's 4-2 victory against the University of Vermont in Hockey East action at the Whittemore Center.

UNH, winners of four straight at home and four of its last five overall, improved to 10-14-3 overall and 4-8-2 in Hockey East. UVM, which defeated the Wildcats, 4-1, at the Whittemore Center on Nov. 3, 2011, lost its sixth consecutive game to fall to 3-16-6, 2-10-2. The Catamounts are 1-12-2 since that November win at UNH.

In addition to Lavoie, three Wildcats recorded multiple points as Nicole Gifford (Ennismore, Ontario), Kristine Horn (Utica, Mich.) and Jenna Lascelle (Cornwall, Ontario) each finished with two assists. Lindsey Minton (Richardson, Texas) finished with 19 saves, including nine in the second period.

UVM was led offensively by Amanda Pelkey's two goals and Roxanne Douville stopped 34 shots, including 15 in the second period and nine in the scoreless third.

New Hampshire pressured early and in the second minute of the game Arielle O'Neill (St Catharines, Ontario) fired a shot that Douville blocked with her left leg pad. The rebound went to the slot, however, where Kayla Mork (Victoria, Minn.) snapped a shot wide right of the cage.

The Wildcats took a 1-0 lead at 3:23 when Lavoie, positioned at the top of the crease, redirected Gifford's shot into the net. Horn was also credited with an assist.

In the seventh minute, UVM's Kellie Dineen ripped a shot from the left point that caromed off Minton's glove and the puck fell wide of the left post.

With three minutes remaining in the opening frame, Gifford led a rush down the slot and wristed a shot wide right. The puck caromed off the end boards and was corralled at the right doorstep by Lavoie, who was denied by Douville.

UNH struck twice in the closing minute to quickly build a 3-0 lead. From the defensive zone, Brock executed a tape-to-tape pass through the neutral zone to spring Lavoie on a breakaway on the left wing. She advanced to the circle and shot the puck over Douville's left shoulder into the upper-right corner at 19:08. Kailey Chappell (Pickering, Ontario), with a pass around the boards behind the net to Brock, initiated the scoring sequence.

Heather Kashman (Edmonton, Alberta) slapped a one-timer from the slot into the cage with 17 seconds remaining on the clock to give the Wildcats a 3-0 lead. Lascelle, with the centering pass from the right circle, and Gifford, who kept the puck in the offensive zone at the right point, set up the tally.

The second period opened with Gifford winning the faceoff and New Hampshire advancing the puck into the offensive zone. Gifford trailed the puck on the right wing and lifted a close-range shot over the crossbar. In the fourth minute, a Jess Ryan (Cloquet, Minn.) slap shot from the left point was tipped in the low slot by Katie Kleinendorst (Vestal, N.Y.), but Douville enveloped the puck. One minute later, Bryanna Farris (Carleton Place, Ontario) stole the puck in the left corner and was stoned at the near post.

Lavoie completed her hat trick at 6:00 to give UNH a 4-0 lead. Lascelle made a drop pass in the left circle for Lavoie, who maneuvered to the slot and wristed a shot into the upper-right corner. Horn picked up her second assist of the game on the tally.

Pelkey trimmed the deficit to 4-1 at 8:04 and struck again at 19:49 when Megan Bergland won a faceoff in the defensive zone to Pelkey, who skated along the left boards, utilized a pair of teammates as a screen to cut to the slot and lifted a shot into the cage.

In the fourth minute of the third period with UNH on the power play, the Wildcats cycled the puck in the offensive zone to set up Kashman's one-time at the right faceoff dot, but Douville slid across the crease and gloved the puck at the post.

Midway through the stanza, Horn led a rush down the right wing. She saucered a centering pass to Lascelle, whose shot caromed off the left post.

UVM began its fourth power play of the game at 13:21, but recorded only one shot during that skater advantage. A string of UNH penalties gave the visitors two more power plays. The Wildcats were sent to the penalty box for cross checking at 16:04, but then the teams skated at four a side when the Catamounts were whistled for hooking at 16:27. New Hampshire then committed a hooking infraction at 16:57 to give Vermont a 4x3 power play. UVM called time out and pulled Douville in favor of an extra skater to gain a two-skater advantage.

Minton made stops against Klara Myren and Pelkey before UNH returned one player from the penalty box to end the power play. Douville remained on the bench, however, and the Catamounts regained a two-skater advantage when their penalty expired with 1:33 remaining on the clock. Minton recorded one more save before the teams returned to even strength with 63 seconds to play.

UVM continued with the empty net and Lavoie advanced down the right wing against three defenders. Her backhander from the faceoff dot slid just wide of the right post, keeping the score at 4-2.

The Wildcats' string of penalties continued with 31 seconds remaining to give the visiting team its seventh power play of the game. UNH's penalty kill remained perfect by not allowing a shot the rest of the game to preserve the two-goal advantage.

New Hampshire and Vermont conclude the home-and-home series Jan. 29 (2 p.m.) at UVM's Gutterson Field House. The Wildcats' next home game is Feb. 4 (2 p.m.) against Boston University.