The UNH women’s ice hockey team spent Thanksgiving weekend right here in Durham as they faced off in a doubleheader against RPI. The Wildcats entered the holiday weekend with a record of 2-9-2, but were able to turn things around and add some points to their record.
The ‘Cats skated to a 1-1 tie on Saturday afternoon, in a game where offense didn’t play much of a factor as both goaltenders played solid games.
The first period saw no goals, but the Wildcats controlled the pace of play by firing 10 shots on net.
In the second period, UNH had plenty of opportunities as they were given two power plays. The ‘Cats took advantage of the power plays and tallied eight shots on goal, but they were held to no goals in the second as well.
UNH returned the favor, giving RPI a power play late in the second period, but the Wildcat penalty kill limited RPI’s scoring chances by allowing just one shot on net during the two minutes.
The third period was more of the same as the two teams traded off scoring chances throughout the twenty minutes.
RPI struck first; 11:10 minutes into the period UNH senior goaltender Kyra Smith kicked out a rebound to the right side that landed right on the stick of RPI forward Lauren Severson, who picked a corner right under the crossbar to give RPI a 1-0 lead.
UNH battled back and 13:20 minutes into the period the Wildcats finally converted on a power play to tie the game. Redshirt first-year forward Paige Rynne was in front of the net when junior forward Nicole Dunbar threw a shot on net. Rynne controlled the rebound and snuck one on the left side past RPI goaltender, Lovisa Selander.
With the game knotted at 1-1 at the end of regulation, the contest headed to overtime. Neither team capitalized in the overtime period, and the contest ended in a tie.
Sunday afternoon was a different story; the Wildcats continued to bring the pressure and were able to put four pucks in the back of the net.
On top of the four goals, UNH goaltender Kyra Smith continued to shine, stopping 20 pucks and only allowing one goal.
The Wildcats got the party started 6:47 into the first when junior forward Meghara McManus deflected a shot from junior defender Tori Howran from the point to put the ‘Cats up 1-0. Later in the first, junior forward Abby Chapman won a faceoff back to first-year forward Lindsey Dumond who let one loose from the point, after the save the puck bounced off an RPI defender and into the back of the net, giving UNH a 2-0 lead heading into the locker room.
Just 1:43 into the second period UNH extended the lead. First-year forward Lauren Martin intercepted a pass behind the net and fed one out to redshirt-junior Taylor Wenczkowski. Wenczkowski shot the puck on net, the puck then bounced into the air where Martin slapped the puck out of the air and backhanded it in.
The star of the game, Meghara McManus, would score her second goal of the game on a power play late in the second period. Martin controlled the puck behind the net and passed it out in front to senior captain Marie-Jo Pelletier, who moved it over to the left where McManus was waiting on the backside of the crease to send it in.
RPI scored just over a minute into the third and would continue to pepper Smith with 13 shots, but that’s all the goals they would see as Smith remained strong in net, keeping the score 4-1 for the remainder of the game.
The Wildcats now move onto a Hockey East weekend as they face off against Merrimack College in a home-and-home weekend. Friday night the ‘Cats will be home for a 7 p.m. puck drop, and on Saturday UNH will head down to North Andover, Massachusetts for a 4 p.m. start time.