Dec. 5, 2009
DURHAM, N.H. -
The Providence College (5-7-6, 4-3-3-2 HEA) women's hockey team made history on Saturday, December 5 as the Friars came away with a 4-1 victory over No. 3 New Hampshire (10-2-4, 5-1-1 HEA) in Durham, N.H. Providence becomes the first Hockey East team to earn a victory at the Whittemore Center since the league's inception in 2002-03. Today's game marked the first victory for the Friars at the Whittemore Center since January 11, 1997. UNH came into the game boasting a 69-0-9 record at home against league opponents since the inaugural Hockey East season in 2002-03.
The Friars were able to jump on top early in the game behind strong play from senior Arianna Rigano (Malden, Mass.) and freshman Jessica Vella (Pickering, Ontario).
Providence opened the scoring at 8:32 when Rigano sent a pass from behind the net to Vella. The freshman forward was able to swat home the airborne pass past the pads of UNH goaltender Lindsey Minton. Sophomore Lauren Covell (Akron, Ohio) also assisted on the play. The goal was the first of Vella's career while Rigano and Covell earned their third and fifth assists of the season, respectively.
The Friars doubled their lead just 1:32 later when Rigano broke up a UNH pass at the PC blue line and took a breakaway in on Minton. Rigano faked to the forehand before sliding a backhanded shot through the five-hole for her fourth goal of the season.
UNH earned a power play at 12:24 but shots from Kelly Paton and Courtney Birchard were saved by PC goaltender Genevieve Lacasse (Scarborough, Ontario). Providence held the edge in shots after 20 minutes, 7-6. Lacasse stopped all six New Hampshire shots and the Friars went into the locker room ahead, 2-0.
The Friars took a 3-0 lead at 4:25 with Vella's second tally of the night. Just seconds after a PC power play, junior Alyse Ruff (Tualatin, Ore.) skated along the left wall across the end line before sending a pass through the slot. Jean O'Neill (Strafford, Pa.) attempted a shot that was blocked before Vella slapped the puck past Minton. Ruff and O'Neill tallied their fifth and seventh assists on the play, respectively.
The PC penalty kill was called into action numerous times as Providence took three penalties in the first 14 minutes of the second. The Friar defense held strong until 14:52 when UNH forward Micaela Long tipped a shot in front just inside the left post past Lacasse to make the score 3-1 in favor of the Friars.
UNH outshot PC in the second, 9-5, and the period ended with PC still ahead, 3-1.
The Friars started the third period with 58 seconds remaining on a power play and capitalized 28 seconds in. Sophomore defender Jennifer Friedman (San Gabriel, Calif.) sent a pass to Ruff. Ruff carried the puck through the neutral zone and beat two players along the right wall before sliding a pass from the end line to Laura Veharanta (La Verne, Calif.) in the slot. Veharanta's slap shot went over the right shoulder of Minton for her third goal of the season. Ruff tallied her sixth assist of the season while Friedman earned her third assist on the play.
Both teams had several power-play opportunities in the final 20 minutes but neither team was able to generate any quality scoring chances. The Friars were able to keep the UNH power-play, ranked first in the nation at 32-percent, to 1-6 on the day. The time winded down with New Hampshire holding a 23-21 edge in shots but the Friars coming away victorious, 4-1.
Lacasse finished the game with 22 saves while Minton recorded 17.
The Friars are next in action when they travel to Chestnut Hill, Mass. for a Hockey East contest against Boston College on Friday, December 11. The game is set for 7:00 p.m. at Conte Forum.