UNH Wildcats Crunch Icewomen, 5-1; Netminder Tate Stars in 42-Save Effort

Despite winning the North American championship, despite compiling a 19-1 record, the University of New Hampshire's women's ice hockey team's all-time winning percentage declined last year.

You see, in the first six years of their program, the Wildcats earned a 109-2-2 slate.

Last night at Bright Center, Harvard became victim number 110, dropping a 5-1 decision.

And if it hadn't been for senior goalie Cheryl Tate's virtuoso performance, the score would have been even more lopsided. The co-captain made 42 saves, 21 in the second period.

"Cheryl Tate was awesome." Harvard Coach John Dooley said after the game. "She's a premiere goalie and she proved it. She made 42 real saves."

The Wildcats were bigger, stronger, faster and more skilled than the Crimson. Yet during most of the contest, the Crimson defense was able to hold them at bay.

The Crimson did it all using only two lines and three defensemen. The Wildcats, on the other hand, made the best of 18 skaters, twice the Harvard total.

"Harvard's been playing very well," UNH Coach Russ McCurdy said. "They play good positional hockey and tough defense. I wouldn't want to get behind them."

The Crimson held the Wildcats without a score for most of the first period. At 16:22, though, Lorie Hutchinson took Terry Stack's feed from the corner boards in the slot and pumped it home.

The Wildcats second score was the killer. An enormous New Hampshire defenseman, appropriately named Lauren Apollo, fired a slapshot from the left point just inside the Crimson blue line. The blast caught the upper right hand corner of the net.

A perfect shot.

"The second goal would have gone by any male, including in the pros." Dooley remarked.

Harvard then killed two penalties, some how presenting the Wildcats from scoring during a minute-long, two man advantage. And at 9:42, junior Dinny Starr scooped up the puck raced into the New Hampshire zone and sent it through the goalie's legs, bringing the Crimson back to 2-1.

Bridget Steams checked in at 11:07 and Captain Robin Balducci added two more tallies to finish out the scoring. Hatchinson assisted on each of the last three goals and ended the evening with four points.

Dooley, who deliberately matches the Crimson with such tough opposition, was philosophical about the loss.