The University of Maine women’s hockey team lost to the Friars of Providence College 4-3 on Friday and 5-1 on Saturday, Providence earned the sweep over the Black Bears. UMaine falls to 1-7 overall and 1-5 in Hockey East, while the Friars improve to 6-3-1 on the season and 4-0 in conference after picking up their first two away wins of the season.
Despite getting outshot 41-19 in the contest, the Black Bears appeared to be in control throughout and dominated puck possession in spurts. UMaine Head Coach Maria Lewis liked what she saw from her team despite the loss.
“Providence is a very big team and they’re tough to play against,” she said. “But I think we did a good job overall, and I thought we had an opportunity to win this one.”
The scoring got started early on, after a Black Bear turnover in their defensive zone led to the Friar’s first goal of the contest. Providence sophomore forward Haley Frade picked up the loose puck in the UMaine zone and fed freshman forward Molly Illikainen who broke the 0-0 tie 2 minutes in.
The teams played four-on-four after offsetting holding penalties were called on UMaine senior forward Brittany Dougherty and Providence sophomore defender Jessica Hall.
The Friars took advantage of the situation, stretching their lead on a bouncing puck that squeezed by UMaine senior goaltender Brittany Ott with 10 minutes left in the period. The goal was credited to freshman defender Lexi Slattery, with sophomore forward Allison Micheletti and senior forward Jessica Vella picking up assists on the play.
Ott would finish with 37 saves in the loss, while freshman goaltender Sarah Bryant had 16 for the Friars.
UMaine junior forward Brianne Kilgour had to be helped off the ice a few minutes later after getting entangled with a Providence player near the boards. Kilgour did not return.
Lewis hopes her team can fill the void if Kilgour is forced to sit out longterm, but recognizes the impact her absence might have on the Black Bears.
“I think it does make a big impact,” she said. “We’ll find a way. We’re a resilient bunch and kids need to step up and back each other up. Somebody is just going to have to step in there and help out.”
The injury seemed to spark the UMaine offense. The Black Bears would pull within one on a power play goal 30 seconds later after junior forward Missy Denk found freshman forward Audra Richards in front. Dougherty also earned an assist on Richards’ goal that made it 2-1 heading into the first intermission.
Play remained up and down in the second, but a few key saves by Ott kept the Black Bears within striking distance in the period’s opening moments. Her diving stop with just over a minute gone seemed to rejuvenate the Black Bear attack and the game opened up from there.
A shot by Dougherty hit the cross bar and seemed to cross the goal line around the 13 minute mark. The play went under review and the call was upheld, preserving the Friars’ 2-1 lead.
A breakaway with just under 8 minutes left in the frame tied the game up at two. UMaine sophomore forward Tori Pasquariello took a feed from fellow sophomore forward Katy Massey and flipped a shot from the slot that beat Bryant top shelf to even up the contest.
The Friars would go up again after a UMaine turnover led to Micheletti’s unassisted goal with 5 minutes left in the period. The score would remain 3-2 heading into the third.
The Black Bears continued to get the better chances in the final phase, despite being outshot heavily by the Friars. The game remained nip and tuck until the end.
Providence extended their lead to 4-2 7:30 into the period. Frade’s power-play goal came off assists by Illikainen and freshmen defender Lexi Romanchuk. The goal would stand as the eventual game-winner.
The Friars finished 1-4 with eight shots on the power play in the contest, while the Black Bears went 2-4 on three shots with the extra attacker.
Lewis got UMaine back on track after her timeout with 11:23 remaining. The Black Bears would continue to get the better scoring chances down the stretch, aided by a Friar penalty.
UMaine wasted no time with the extra skater, pulling within one once again on a deflection in front of the Providence crease with just over 6 minutes left. Richards was credited with her second goal of the game after a shot from the point deflected off her before glancing off a Friars defender before finally finding the back of the cage. Dougherty earned an assist on the play.
That is where the comeback ended, however. Providence clamped down in the final moments to secure the 4-3 victory.
“What didn’t go well was us just kind of panicking and rimming the pucks,” Lewis said. “[We have] got to stop the rims, and we have to go harder at their net, and we have to get more pucks on net and find a way to score the ugly goals.
Friars take care of UMaine sweep
In a hotly contested game at Alfond Arena on Saturday, the UMaine fell to the Friars 5-1. The Friars improve to 6-3-1 on the year, 4-0 in Hockey East, while the Black Bears drop to 1-7-0 on the year including a 1-5-0 record in conference.
Frade scored twice, but the spotlight after the game was all on the officiating. UMaine was whistled for nine penalties in the contest, while the Friars were called for four infractions.
Providence’s power-play advantage was put to good use. They went 3-8 with 11 shots with the extra skater, while holding the Black Bears’ power play to 0-3 with 3 shots.
When asked about the officiating after the game, Lewis had this to say:
“I feel that every time we have a home game, that they just really don’t necessarily think that the other team does anything to us. I’m really kind of sick of it to be honest with you. The way that the officials have a tendency to see the game and what we’re doing and not recognize the fact that we’re playing hard and we’re playing the puck.
“I don’t have a problem when we get a call, but what I have a problem with is all the non-calls that aren’t made, that should be called for us,” Lewis added. “That’s what bothers me the most.”
Although unhappy with the referees, Lewis knows that her team must move on from Saturday’s game.
“We can’t control the officials, we have to worry about what we can control,” she said.
Providence Head Coach Bob Deraney emphasized the importance of his team’s success on the power play against the Black Bears.
“This is a very tough, tough place to play,” he said. “If you want to be good, you have to score on the power play. If you can’t score on the power play you’re really living dangerously.”
The score remained 0-0 for most of the first period. UMaine freshman goaltender Meghann Treacy made some huge saves for the Black Bears throughout the contest, including a diving stop around the 16-minute mark in the first that eventually went under review, but was upheld.
“I thought Treacy played outstanding,” Lewis said about the freshman’s performance. “But special teams will make you or break you at the college level, it’s so important.”
Providence scored first — the only goal of the period — on a rebound with just over 6 minutes left in the stanza. Freshman defender Maggie Pendleton fired a shot that was initially saved by Treacy, but she could not corral the rebound. The puck was scooped up by sophomore forward Beth Hanrahan who put it home to give the Friars a 1-0 lead.
Play was up and down in the second period, but Providence was able to capitalize on their opportunities while the Black Bears could not.
Pasquariello had a short-handed breakaway opportunity with 8:30 remaining in the second, but her shot hit the cross bar and bounced out, keeping the score 1-0.
A second Black Bear penalty a minute later gave Providence a 5-on-3 advantage for 20 seconds, and the Friars didn’t waste it.
They scored 17 seconds into the power play when Illikainen cleaned up a loose puck in front of Treacy. Junior forward Corinne Buie and freshman forward Courtney Kukowksi were given assists on the play.
Massey played well, her performance culminating in scoring the Black Bears’ only goal of contest.
Senior defender Chloe Tinkler controlled the puck behind the net before feeding Massey in front, who beat Bryant to make it 3-1 with four minutes left in the second period. Sophomore defender Megan Menotti earned an assist on the play.
Bryant would finish with 18 saves, while Treacy had 28 in the loss for the Black Bears.
Penalties plagued the Black Bears in the third. They were sent to the box five times in the final frame, leading to one Providence score.
The goal came on a backdoor pass in front of the UMaine crease with just under 7 minutes remaining in regulation. Slattery passed the puck to Frade from the left dot, and Frade redirected the puck into the back of the net for her second goal of the contest. Buie would also earn a helper as the Friars extended their lead to 4-1.
Frade said she was happy with how the season has gone so far and hopes to continue to have success in the future.
“Our team definitely contributes in everything. Everyone puts in and I think that’s going to be key to our success,” she said.
UMaine attempted to pull Treacy multiple times in the third in favor of the extra skater, leading to Vella’s empty-net goal with 2 minutes to go. Providence would hang on to win 5-1.
Deraney said this weekend was a learning experience for his squad and hopes they remember it as they move ahead in the season.
“It’s a 120-minute weekend, and you have to play efficiently,” he said. “If you don’t play efficiently, it’s just making it harder on yourself.”
Lewis remains proud of her team in the defeat, but hopes they can take the loss and improve from it in future games.
“You can’t wait until the third period before you start playing,” she said. “You have to be able to put two games back-to-back, you have to compete, and you have to play with a sense of urgency.”
Kilgour did not play after suffering a muscle contusion in Friday’s game. X-rays were negative, but Kilgour is expected to be out at least a week.
The Black Bears travel to Minnesota to take on Bemidji St. in a two game set Nov. 9-10. The puck drops for both contests at 7:07 CT. UMaine returns home to play New Hampshire in a 12 p.m. game Nov. 17.