Junior forward Nicole Gifford posts two assists for Wildcats

Junior forward Nicole Gifford had two assists for the Wildcats

DURHAM, N.H. - The University of New Hampshire women's hockey team capped off the first half of the season with a 2-2 tie against fourth-ranked Harvard Saturday afternoon at the Whittemore Center. The Wildcats now have a 7-11-2 overall record while the Crimson are 9-1-1 on the year.

In the first period, the Wildcats outshot the Crimson, 8-5. Kristine Horn (Utica, Mich.) notched a period-high three shots while New Hampshire netminder Jenn Gilligan (Maple Ridge, British Columbia) made saves on all five shots she faced. At the end of the first stanza, the score was even at 0-0.

Miye D'Oench tallied the first goal of the game as she gave Harvard a 1-0 lead at the 5:27 mark of the second period. Michelle Picard passed the puck up to Samantha Reber at center ice. Reber found D'Oench in stride with a pass as she put the puck in the net past Gilligan. On an ensuing power play, Gilligan came up with a big split-glove save when Jillian Dempsey ripped a shot from just inside the blueline.

Hannah Armstrong (Newmarket, Ontario) leveled the score at 1-1 with 4:03 remaining when she tallied her fourth goal of the year. Kristina Lavoie (Fonthill, Ontario) won a puck battle behind the net and gave it to Nicole Gifford (Ennismore, Ontario). Gifford sent a pass to the opposite side of the net where Armstrong put it away with a one-time shot. Just seconds later, Jessica Hitchcock (LaSalle, Ontario) gave the Wildcats a 2-1 lead as she redirected a shot by Alexis Crossley (Cole Harbour, Ontario) in front of the net and into the goal. Gifford tallied her second assist of the afternoon on the play as she dished the puck to Crossley. At the end of the second period, UNH lead, 2-1.

Crimson forward Jillian Dempsey scored her 14th goal of the season in the in the third period to tie the game at 2-2 at 11:31. Kalley Armstrong started the play when she passed the puck to Sarah Edney. Edney then found Dempsey who put the puck away in the back of the net. At the end of regulation, the score remained 2-2.

Both teams were eagerly trying to tally the golden goal in overtime. Harvard notched three shots on the period, all of which were denied by Gilligan as the 'Cats tallied a pair on net that were turned away by Harvard goalie Emerance Maschmeyer.

Gilligan received the decision in net for the Wildcats after making 20 saves on 22 shots faced. Her record stands at 4-1-1. Maschmeyer's record now stands at 4-0-1 after turning away 16 of the 18 shots she faced. Both teams were 0-for-3 on the power play.

The Wildcats will have a break until after the New Year when they travel to Union to play on January 15. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m.

Jessica Hitchcock tips in UNH's second goal
Jenn Gilligan makes one of her 20 saves for the Wildcats