Schlagel, Curtis score in losing efforts to No. 8 Clarkson

Bret Belden

Coming off their first win of the season, the Wildcats had a lot to play for this weekend with a two-game series against No. 8 Clarkson University.
On Saturday, UNH started strong. They were first to the puck and were determined to get an early lead, and did just that with an Amy Schlagel first-period goal.
UNH’s lone goal from Schlagel in the first period had shades of the way the ‘Cats came out last week against Merrimack. A quick and successful start had the Knights chasing. Schlagel’s goal came just 42 seconds into the first period.
However, a second period collapse with three unanswered goals solidified a 3-1 victory for the Golden Knights at the Whittemore Center.
“I thought we played pretty good in the first and the third,” head coach Hilary Witt said. “We struggled a bit in the second, took some bad penalties. That put us in a disadvantage.”
UNH’s disadvantages came from the penalty box. The ‘Cats were sent to the box three times in the second period, killing their own momentum.
At 3:58 of the second, Clarkson’s Savannah Harmon snuck the puck past Kyra Smith to tie the game up at one. Smith made 32 saves total on the afternoon.
“We just didn’t do a good job coming out to the point,” Witt said. “We let them take open shots with [Smith] screened and they got some nice tips, and if you don’t go after them and give them too much time, they’re going to hurt you.”
An early third period goal from Clarkson’s Michaela Pejzlova capped off the win as she drove to the net and put a backhand shot past Smith at 2:44 in the third period.
On Sunday, it was the first period that wreaked havoc for the ‘Cats, as they fell 3-1 to the Golden Knights, dropping the second of the two-game series.
Seconds into the period, Clarkson’s Jessica Gillham found traffic in the slot. With bodies around the crease, Gillham’s puck found its way through the five-hole and behind goaltender Hilary Cashin. Cashin posted a career high 41 saves in the losing effort.
Harmon put the Knights up 2-0 as she carried the puck into the slot with three UNH defenders trailing her and beat Cashin at 12:49 in the first.
“I thought after the first period we played pretty good,” Witt said. “But, again, we’ve got to stay out of the penalty box. I thought we did some good things, we gave ourselves chances to score some goals and we got to finish. Overall, I thought we had a decent weekend, we just want to win.”
Jonna Curtis scored UNH’s single goal on the power play after she found a loose puck in the slot. With traffic around the net, Curtis pounced on the puck from Kate Haslett and Carlee Turner and flicked it past Clarkson’s Shea Tiley at 5:17 in the second to make it 2-1.
“We’ve been working on power plays all week in practice,” Curtis said. “We finally put it all together. We were working really well. It all just came together [there].”
UNH will play the University of Vermont at the Whittemore Center on Friday, Oct. 28. In the meantime, this weekend’s series proved the ‘Cats still have plenty to work on.
“We’ve got to shoot with confidence,” Witt said. “We get plenty of chances – but the chances we get, we don’t finish. The chances the other team gets, they’re finishing. We’ve had breakaways, we’ve had [grade A chances]; we’ve got to get confidence when the pucks on our stick to finish.”