The St. Lawrence University women's hockey team scored a power play goal late in the third period to cut into a two-goal deficit, but was unable to complete the rally as the Saints fell 2-1 to the University of New Hampshire on Saturday afternoon at Appleton Arena. The Wildcats were anchored by goaltender Vilma Vaattovaara's 41-save performance, and used two goals only 1:09 apart to earn the win.
St. Lawrence (1-1), which won Friday's opener 4-2, again played with an up-tempo offense that generated numerous chances on Vaattovaara, but were simply unable to cash in. New Hampshire (1-1) was outshot 42-21, but were able to kill off 8-of-9 penalties to pick up its first win of the season.
"What a very productive weekend for our team," said St. Lawrence head coach Chris Wells. "We learned so much about how we can play and what we can accomplish. We had great energy all weekend."
Both teams started their back-up netminders, as Marie-Eve Jean and Carmen MacDonald sat for UNH and St. Lawrence, respectively. Though Vaattovaara was sharp, Saints' goalie Giulia Mazzocchi was up to the task, turning away 15 shots in the second period alone to keep the game scoreless after 40:00 minutes. Each team had several good bids, including an open-net try for UNH's Hannah Armstrong that sailed wide and a missed chance on the door step for St. Lawrence's Jessica Hon off a hard pass from Bailey Habscheid.
Unfortunately for the Saints, Mazzocchi blinked first in the goaltender battle, as she misplayed a dump into the offensive zone from outside the blue line from Caroline Broderick and the puck squeezed past her for the 1-0 UNH lead. Broderick's goal, her first of the year, came only 1:20 into the third period.
The Wildcats would not sit back after taking the lead and pressed the issue on the ensuing shifts. Heather Kashman got the puck to Cassandra Vilgrain who fed Sara Carlson in the slot. Carlson ripped a wrist shot under the cross bar past Mazzocchi for the 2-0 advantage at 2:39.
St. Lawrence would re-group and control the remaining portion of the third period, not allowing another single shot on net. However, their bids were foiled repeatedly by Vaattovaara, who kept the Saints off the scoreboard until the 18:37 mark of the third period. Rookie Kirsten Padalis found Ellie Williams below the goal line, and she quickly roped a pass through the crease to Kayla Raniwsky, who lifted a shot into the net for an extra attacker goal to cut her team's deficit in half at 2-1.
After a timeout, the Saints generated several chances in the final minute to try and tie the game, with the best coming off the stick of Habscheid from just outside the circles. However, Vaattovaara glove the puck into the corner, allowing the clock to run out on the home team's comeback effort.
"New Hampshire did a nice job of taking some pressure off today and it resulted in a nice win for them," added Coach Wells. "There will be two excellent games next weekend versus Clarkson."
The Saints and nationally-ranked No. 3 Golden Knights begin the next chapter in their rivalry next weekend for a home-and-home series. St. Lawrence heads to Cheel Arena on Friday night in Potsdam, NY for a 7:00pm start before returning home to Appleton Arena on Saturday at 3:00pm.