DURHAM, N.H. - Senior captain Nicole Gifford (Ennismore, Ontario) and sophomore Heather Kashman (Edmonton, Alberta) scored a goal each Friday night as the University of New Hampshire women's hockey team fell to the Rochester Institute of Technology, 3-2, in the home opener.
The loss drops the Wildcats to 1-2-0 on the year while the Tigers improve to 1-1-0 overall.
The Wildcats went on an early power play as RIT's Jess Paton committed a tripping penalty just 20 seconds into play. In the two minute span, the Wildcats notched four shots-on-goal, each of which was turned away by goalie Ali Binnington. The Wildcats kept the offensive pressure on the Tigers with another five shots on target over the next four minutes.
At the 7:25 mark of the stanza, the Tigers were able to take a 1-0 lead on a goal by Kourtney Kunichika. The play was initially placed under review, however the call on the ice stood. Kunichika stole the puck behind the Wildcat net and stuffed the puck into the net on a wraparound shot.
RIT increased its lead at the 9:10 mark of the period when Cassie Clayton scored a goal on a Tiger power play. Dakota Waites played the puck to Clayton who in turn found the back of the net.
The Wildcats remained resilient and cut the RIT lead in half with 2:56 remaining in the first period. Jessica Hitchcock (LaSalle, Ontario) played the puck from the right corner of the rink to Nicole Gifford (Ennismore, Ontario) who was waiting in the slot. Gifford blasted a shot that found the back of the net.
At the end of the first period, the Tigers held a 2-1 lead.
The Wildcats remained an offensive force in the second period, starting the frame firing on all cylinders. At the 14:14 mark of the second, Heather Kashman (Edmonton, Alberta) recorded her first goal of the season to level the score, 2-2. Hannah Armstrong (Newmarket, Ontario) dished the puck across the ice to Jess Ryan (Cloquet, Minn.) just inside the blue line. Ryan ripped a shot on net that was deflected by the stick of Kashman and into the back of the net.
Wildcat netminder Marie-Eve Jean (Gatineau, Quebec) made saves on each of the five shots she faced in the period to preserve the 2-2 tie. With two periods in the books, the score was deadlocked.
The Tigers broke the 2-2 stalemate with 8:21 remaining in regulation when Jess Paton notched the leading goal. Marissa Maugeri played the puck in front of the net and as the puck was attempted to be cleared, Paton intercepted it and put it away.
Jean made a total of 16 saves in the game on the 19 shots she faced. Her record falls to 0-2-0 on the year. Binnington made 30 saves in the game on the 32 shots she faced in net. Her record improves to 1-1-0 overall. The Wildcats held a 32-19 advantage in shots overall. UNH was 1-for-4 in power play situations while RIT was 1-for-5 with the advantage.
The team returns to the ice Saturday, Oct. 5 as it takes on Syracuse University at 2 p.m.