CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - University of New Hampshire goaltender Ashley Wilkes (North Pole, Alaska) made 20 saves but Harvard University counterpart Brianna Laing stopped all 29 shots she faced to backbone the fifth-ranked Crimson women's ice hockey team to Friday night's 5-0 victory at Bright-Landry Hockey Center.
UNH is now 6-10-2 overall and Harvard improved to 9-1-1 by recording its second consecutive shutout victory by a five-goal margin.
Wilkes made eight of her 20 saves in the third period. Laing made double-digit saves in both the first (12) and third (10) periods. Hillary Crowe was the only skater with multiple points as she finished with three points (two goals, one assist).
Harvard skated to a 2-0 lead through one period of play despite UNH's three power-play opportunities and 12-7 shot advantage. A UNH giveaway at its blue line of the offensive zone sent Miye D'Oench on a breakaway down the middle of the ice. She deked in the low slot, pulled the puck hard to her forehand and deposited the puck into the open right side of the net at 1:44.
The Wildcats went on their first power play of the game at 7:59, but the Crimson's penalty kill - ranked No. 1 in the nation - did not allow a shot. Moments after the skater advantage ended, Harvard's Mary Parker sliced through the right circle but her dangerous bid was kicked aside by Wilkes' right leg pad.
Harvard extended the lead to 2-0 at 10:39 when Sydney Daniels' shot from the left faceoff dot trickled between Wilkes' leg pads across the goal line. Abigail Frazer and Hillary Crowe were credited with assists.
UNH cycled the puck effectively and generated six shots on its next power play, which began at 16:44, but Laing had the answer every time to keep the 'Cats scoreless.
The Wildcats opened the second period with 1:08 remaining on their third power play, but they surrendered their first shorthanded goal of the season when Crowe scored 21 seconds after the faceoff.
As the power play expired, the 'Cats generated a 2-on-1 rush and Sara Carlson (Hutchinson, Minn.), from the left circle, pushed a shot wide of the far post. Harvard quickly counterattacked and Dylan Crugnale's unassisted goal made it 4-0 at 1:39.
New Hampshire went on its fourth power play at 4:47. One minute later, Jonna Curtis (Elk River, Minn.) circled behind the net to the left circle and slipped a pass to the slot, where Jessica Hitchcock (LaSalle, Ontario) fired a one-timer stopped by Laing. In the waning seconds of the power play, a slap shot off the stick of Jess Ryan (Cloquet, Minn.) from the left circle was enveloped by Laing with Kayla Mork (Victoria, Minn.) standing at the doorstep.
Wilkes kept the margin at four goals when she stopped Sarah Edney's blast from the right circle with the Crimson on the power play at 7:45. One minute later, UNH generated a shorthanded bid and the Cassandra Vilgrain (Calgary, Alberta) one-time slap shot from the left circle sailed high and wide left of the cage.
Midway through the second stanza, Hitchcock's shot from the left circle was steered aside by Laing's extended left leg pad and Samantha Reber cleared the loose puck out of the crease.
With UNH on another power play, the duo of Curtis and Hitchcock once again generated a dangerous scoring chance at 12:15. Curtis left a drop pass in the left circle and Hitchcock's wrister was snared by Laing's glove.
In another Wildcat rush with just over a minute remaining in the middle frame, Nicole Gifford (Ennismore, Ontario) carried the puck into the left circle and her shot was knocked down by Laing. With two 'Cats crashing the net, Gifford poked the puck wide of the right post.
Harvard recorded a 9-7 shot advantage in the second period but the 'Cats held an overall edge of 19-16 through 40 minutes.
The Crimson netted a power-play goal at 14:51 of the third period to extend the lead to 5-0. Reber, deep on the right side, fed a pass in front that Crowe redirected into the net. Less than a minute later,
UNH called time out at 18:05, which marked the beginning of its abbreviated 5-on-3 power play of six seconds. The Wildcats did not record a shot the rest of the way, however.
New Hampshire concludes the 2013 calendar year Sunday, Dec. 8 at home against intrastate rival Dartmouth College. Game time at the Whittemore Center is 2 p.m. and fans are encouraged to bring a donation for Toys for Tots.