The St. Lawrence University trio of senior captains led their team to victory on Friday night in the opening contest of the 2013-14 season. Rylee Smith scored two goals and added an assist, while both Mel Desrochers (1g,1a) and Dayle Wilkinson (2a) also had multi-point games, anchoring the Saints' women's hockey team to a 4-2 win over the University of New Hampshire at Appleton Arena.
The Saints (1-0-0) scored twice on the power play to open up a three-goal lead en route to the win, sustaining consistent offensive pressure throughout the game. The Wildcats (0-1-0) lost their season opener for the first time in 12 seasons after being outshot 31-21.
"That was a fun game to coach, as both teams played hard in the first contest of the season. We had some very good efforts by a number of players," said Saints' head coach Chris Wells. "Our penalty kill did a great job in the first to keep it a 2-0 game, and we scored some timely goals to keep the lead for the remainder of the game. We'll be looking forward to another fast-paced game tomorrow."
The Saints hit the ice flying and piled up an 11-2 advantage in shots over the opening 10:00 minutes. Their speed kept UNH on its heels throughout the period, which in turn led to back-to-back goals only 17 seconds apart. St. Lawrence got on the scoreboard at 9:47 of the first when Kailee Heidersbach beat UNH goalie Marie-Even Jean off a feed from rookie Brooke Webster. After the face-off, Wilkinson found Smith with a speed through the neutral zone and she moved in and beat Jean for the 2-0 lead at 10:04.
New Hampshire would have several quality bids thanks to several power play tries in the period, but came away empty. Carmen MacDonald had a perfect first period, while the penalty killing group did an excellent job blocking shots, including Jessica Hon and Bailey Habscheid.
Nicole Gifford would cut the Wildcats' deficit in half only 57 seconds into the second period, as she converted on a power play try with assists going to Jessica Hitchcock and Sara Carlson. The Saints would respond in style, though, with two power play goals to open up a 4-1 lead. Smith made it 3-1 as she snuck a shot through Jean's pads thanks to a screen in front by rookie Alex Moore at 7:33. Desrochers then rocketed a shot from outside the circle on the power play off a set-up feed from Smith at 14:44.
Jenna Lascelle's late goal at 17:22 kept the Wildcats in the game, as the Saints committed a turnover right in front of MacDonald which led to the easy finish for Lascelle. Kayla Mork assisted on the goal that made it 4-2 heading to the third.
With MacDonald sidelined in the third period, sophomore Giulia Mazzocchi came in relief and made five saves to ensure the Saints of victory. The home team helped their back-up goaltender by owning the majority of chances in the final stanza, outshooting UNH 10-5.
St. Lawrence finished 2-for-7 with the extra skater, while UNH was 1-for-5. Jean closed with 27 saves in the loss, while MacDonald (14) and Mazzocchi combined (5) for 19 stops in the win.
The two teams will square off in a rematch tomorrow at Appleton Arena at 3:00pm.