The University of Maine women’s hockey season is over after a tough 2-0 loss against the University of New Hampshire in the semifinals of the Hockey East Tournament at Matthews Arena in Boston March 15. The Black Bears finished the season with an overall record of 12-15-4.
“I thought we played a solid game against UNH, they just came out strong,” senior goaltender Dawn Froats said. “I don’t think it was difficulty scoring goals. We just, some games, don’t get the puck luck like other teams. We have goal scorers on our team, but in hockey it comes down to which team gets those few lucky bounces.”
After a scoreless first period, New Hampshire scored a goal in each period. In the second, the Wildcats cashed in on a Naomi Smethurst tripping penalty as New Hampshire’s Stephanie Jones scored on an assist from Alison Edgar.
The second goal of the game came at 16:01 of the third period from Carolyn Gordon.
The Wildcats outshot the Black Bears by a 43-15 margin. Froats played an outstanding game, to the tune of 41 saves. Jen Huggon stopped 15 for the Wildcats in her 10th shutout in 16 games against Hockey East opponents.
The team experienced many highs and lows during this season. Some of the highs included stellar goaltending and defense, but the Bears struggled to score goals and didn’t win as many games as they expected.
“The highs of our team is that we played as a team during the highs and lows,” junior forward Karen Droog said. “We had a tough start and we struggled but we stuck together. We were a team.”
Offensive leaders for the Black Bears this season were junior forward Meagan Aarts (12 goals, 14 assists), Droog (15 & 7), and senior captain Jarin Sjogren (8 & 9).
In net, Froats was 8-4-1 with a 1.68 goals against average and a .926 save percentage. Junior Lara Smart was 4-11-3 with a 2.24 GAA and a .921 save percentage.
Droog, senior forward Raffi Wolf and Aarts finished the season as UMaine’s top three all-time scoring leaders. With 93 career points, Droog is the new record holder, replacing Wolf. Wolf held the mark for two years before this season. Aarts led the Black Bears in scoring for the second straight season and has 91 points in her career.
Despite the Black Bears’ struggles this year, the team has a positive outlook on next season’s play. Head Coach Rick Filighera is only two wins shy of 100 career wins.
“I think that next year will be a really good year for our program,” Droog said. “We have some strong freshmen coming in and I think they will add a lot of talent to our team and will contribute in a big way. I think next year is going to be key for us and we will have a better record than any other year. We have a lot of talented and dedicated players and next year is going to be a big year for us.”