McCloskey Fired at UNH; Wildcats Hold Off Big Green, 2-1

Durham, n.h. — A late rally fell short for the Dartmouth women’s hockey team on Sunday afternoon as New Hampshire topped the Big Green, 2-1, at the Whittemore Center.

The victory comes just two days after UNH women’s coach Brian McCloskey, a former Dartmouth College hockey player and assistant coach, was fired Friday.

A school release said an incident of “inappropriate physical contact with a player” on the bench during the Wildcats’ Nov. 30 loss to visiting Ohio State was the cause, but no further details were described.

“The safety and well-being of our student athletes is our number one priority,” UNH Athletics Director Marty Scarano said in the release. “Coaches are role models for our students and responsible for their dignity and safety, and we have zero tolerance for unsportsmanlike behavior on any of our athletic teams.”

McCloskey, a 1977 Dartmouth graduate, took UNH to national semifinal berths in 2006 and 2008 and the team won a school-record 33 games during each of those campaigns. The Wildcats, however, had losing records the last three seasons and entered Sunday’s game off a 5-0 loss to Harvard two days earlier.

McCloskey won his 200th game during 2009, won the Hockey East Coach of the Year award four times and was twice the runner-up for the national version.

His teams had 20 or more victories in each of his first seven seasons with the women’s program. His record ended at 252-113-40.

Dartmouth (2-10-0) outshot the host Wildcats (7-10-2), 12-8, in the final period, but UNH netminder Ashley Wilkes stood her ground and denied Dartmouth the opportunity to tie the game.

Between the pipes for the Green and White, freshman Robyn Chemago turned aside a career-best 33 shots in a losing effort.

With the score knotted at one midway through the third period, New Hampshire’s Hannah Armstrong scored her fifth goal of the year to give the Wildcats the one-goal advantage. Down the stretch, Dartmouth had scoring opportunities, but Wilkes and the UNH defense held the lead.

Lindsey Allen scored her sixth goal of the season for Dartmouth on the power play nine minutes into the first period.

The Big Green hosts Vermont Wednesday.