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Wildcats, Friars defend home rinks in weekend split

After an impressive, come-from-behind overtime win on Tuesday against Harvard, UNH then focused its attention on a home-and-home series against the Providence Friars over the weekend.

On Saturday in Providence, the ‘Cats started with a lead and ended with a loss.

Abby Chapman had a career-high two points with two assists in UNH’s 6-3 loss against the Friars at Schneider Arena. After jumping to a 3-1 lead, the Wildcats let up five unanswered goals to end the game in defeat.

“I thought Providence played great,” head coach Hilary Witt said. “We did some pretty good things, but we didn’t bring an overall 60-minute performance. It wasn’t a lack of effort, we just didn’t make good plays, pucks bounced off our sticks, and it wasn’t our day.”

Kate Haslett put UNH up first at 11:31 of the first period. Haslett’s goal made it her first of the season.

The Wildcats allowed their first short-handed goal of the season on Saturday afternoon, as Providence’s Danielle Hardy put the puck past Kyra Smith, who finished with 39 saves, to tie things up at 1-1.

Marie-Jo Pelletier scored her first goal of the season as well, lifting the ‘Cats to a 2-1 advantage at 18:05 in the period. Meghara McManus extended the lead to 3-1 with a goal at 4:05 in the second period. Carlee Turner and Lexie Revkin were credited with the assists.

From there, UNH allowed five unanswered goals to the Friars, setting the stage for Sunday afternoon’s rematch at the Whittemore Center. The ‘Cats entered Sunday’s game against Providence at 4-11-0 overall and 3-6-0 in Hockey East.

The game started with another early lead, this time for the Friars. However, UNH grinded out a 2-1 win with two power-play goals to improve to 5-11-0 on the season.

In the early goings of the game, Providence’s Christina Putigna rushed the slot and beat Hillary Cashin, who finished with 29 saves, at just 26 seconds into the game. From there on, it was all UNH.

“I thought we played much better,” Witt said in comparison to Saturday’s loss in Providence. “The first five minutes were not what we would have liked. After that, I thought we settled down. Providence does a good job at taking you out of your game. But I thought we did a good job adjusting.”

Although UNH has struggled at this point in the game many times this season, they responded. It came from the stick of Julia Fedeski on a power play at 4:42 in the first period. Fedeski flicked a loose puck in the slot that trickled past Providence’s Alanna Serviss to tie the game at 1-1.

The score remained the same entering the third, until Amy Schlagel came through with the game-winner at 1:09 in the period on a power play for too many players on the ice by the Friars.

After a shot from Jonna Curtis, Schlagel capitalized on the opportunity in the slot with traffic surrounding the Providence net and beat Serviss with a wrist shot to put UNH up 2-1.

“That was big,” Witt said. “We’ve been struggling on the power play, and for us to put those away, it was huge. And that kid can score, so we’re not overly surprised.”

Sunday’s game marked a turning point for the ‘Cats. Not only were they able to turn their game around on the power-play, but they also saw an improvement in team defense, one that limited Providence to its lone goal.

“[Saturday] we struggled a lot defensively,” Witt said. “[Sunday] we bounced back and [Cashin] gave us a great chance to win. She made some big saves and was steady in net.”

UNH will next play Maine on Saturday, Nov. 26 at 5 p.m.

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