HAMDEN, Conn. -- Freshman goaltender Ashley Wilkes (North Pole, Alaska) recorded a career-high 27 saves but the University of New Hampshire women's ice hockey team was edged 2-1 Saturday afternoon by seventh-ranked Quinnipiac University at High Point Solutions Arena.
UNH's overall record is now level at 6-6-2 while QU, which entered the game with a 0-8-1 lifetime record vs. New Hampshire, extended its unbeaten streak to seven games (5-0-2) to improve to 10-1-3.
Wilkes in just her second career start, stopped all six shots she faced in the first period, 10 in the second and 11 in the third. QU counterpart Chelsea Laden was credited with seven saves, five of which came in the first period; she did not face a shot in the third period.
The Wildcats skated to a 1-0 lead in the first period when senior defenseman Arielle O'Neill (St Catharines, Ontario) fired a screened shot from the point that eluded Laden and sailed into the net. Jess Ryan (Cloquet, Minn.), with the pass to O'Neill, and Cassandra Vilgrain (Calgary, Alberta) were credited with assists.
On the opening shift of the second stanza, Cydney Roesler was denied by Wilkes, who also turned aside Meghan Turner off the rebound. After the ensuing faceoff, Wilkes also had to stop by Kristen Tamberg and Nicole Brown.
In the fourth minute, the Bobcats once again generated a scoring chance, but Wilkes denied both Shelby Wignall and Emma Greco.
Jessica Hitchcock (LaSalle, Ontario) nearly gave the Wildats a two-goal lead when her shot hit the pipe at 8:30. Moments later, Hitchcock was again denied - this time by Layden.
In the 14th minute, Wilkes preserved UNH's 1-0 lead when she recorded saves against both Lindsey West and Taryn Baumgardt. At the other end of the ice, the visiting 'Cats were once again foiled by the pipe when a shot by Megan Armstrong (Edina, Minn.) clanged off the iron.
Quinnipiac leveled the score, 1-1, at 17:39 of the second period. Shiann Darkangelo corralled a loose puck in the slot and found Kelly Babstock low on the left side. Wilkes made an acrobatic save on Babstock's initial shot but the rebound went right back on the stick of Babstock, who lifted a shot into the open left side.
Vilgrain was turned away by Laden in the waning seconds of the period, and it marked just UNH's second shot of the period - and last of the game - in comparison to QU's 11.
The Bobcats were whistled for tripping at 1:54 of the final frame, but none of the Widcats' five shot attempts were on target - three were blocked by QU skaters and two were wide of the cage.
With six minutes to play, Meghan Turner was stoned by Wilkes at the left doorstep and Babstock ripped a one-timer off the rebound that was snared by Wilkes.
Morgan Fritz-Ward gave QU its first lead of the game, 2-1, at 17:43 when she skated down the slot and sristed a shot into the net. Olivia Brackett was credited with an assist.
UNH pulled Wilkes in favor of an extra skater with 1:24 on the clock and the Wildcats gained a two-skater advantage when a Bobcat was whistled for tripping at 19:12. QU's penalty kill stymied the visitors the rest of the way to preserve the lead.
New Hampshire returns to action at home Nov. 24 against Boston University. Game time for Bue Out the Whitt is 2 p.m.