In a tightly contested defensive battle Friday afternoon in Alfond Arena, the University of Maine and the University of Vermont women’s hockey teams fought to a scoreless draw behind matching shutouts by UMaine senior Brittany Ott and UVM junior Roxanne Douville. The Black Bears picked up the victory over the Catamounts the following day, 3-2.
The tie and win moves the Black Bears’ record to 4-17-2 on the season, 2-10-1 in conference, while the Catamounts’ shifts to 6-13-3 overall, 4-5-3 in Hockey East.
Goaltending Prevails as UMaine and Vermont Skate to 0-0 Tie
Special teams played a big factor in this one, with neither power-play unit able to find the back of the net. UVM went scoreless in their six chances with the extra skater but managed to keep the UMaine power play in check on their five opportunities.
The Black Bears were hoping for a victory after they suffered a sweep at the hands of Boston University last weekend, but could not capitalize despite getting the better of the chances that included a 4-minute power play in the second period and a five-on-three advantage in the third.
The Catamounts had lost three in a row, following their six-game unbeaten streak that ended Jan. 5, and are now 3-1-3 in their last seven Hockey East matchups after Friday’s draw with the Black Bears.
Both teams exchanged scoring chances in the overtime period but could not solve either goaltender.
Ott finished with 26 saves in the shutout while Douville matched her with 30 stops for UVM. The Catamounts held the edge in faceoff wins 42-24.
The two squads conclude their two-game weekend set on Saturday, with puck drop scheduled for 1 p.m.
Denk’s Game-Winner in Extra Time Boosts UMaine past Vermont 3-2
After skating to a 2-2 draw through 60 minutes of play, UMaine junior forward Missy Denk found the back of the net on the power play less than 2 minutes into extra time to propel the Black Bears past the Catamounts in a Hockey East showdown in Alfond Arena Saturday afternoon.
The special teams units were on display once again following Friday’s physical contest, as the two squads combined for 22 total penalties in game two. UMaine had gone 0-11 on the power play until Denk’s overtime game-winner, finishing 1-12 against the tough UVM penalty kill in the two-game series.
The Catamounts were held scoreless in their 12 power-play chances on the weekend, including an 0-6 effort against the equally stingy Black Bear kill on Saturday.
“I think anytime you’re down a man, it doesn’t really matter the skill level, you’re always at a disadvantage,” UMaine head coach Maria Lewis said after the game. “I think there were some, maybe missed opportunities on their part, but the truth is our penalty kill was really good,” he continued. “We worked hard and we blocked shots. There’s always going to be a breakdown or two but we found a way to fix that and make adjustments.”
The hockey was back and forth for the first part of the opening period before UVM broke the scoreless tie with just over 8 minutes remaining. Sophomore defender Sarah Campbell capitalized on a rebound opportunity, beating Ott top shelf to capture the first lead of the series. Senior forward Erin Wente and junior forward Danielle Rancourt were credited with assists on Campbell’s third goal of the season.
Ott turned aside 23 of the 25 shots she faced to secure her fourth win of the season for the Black Bears. UVM senior goaltender Kelci Lanthier finished with 41 saves of her own on 44 shots in the loss.
The contest remained competitive throughout most of the second period as well after a sluggish start by UMaine.
UVM scored 30 seconds into the stanza to extend their lead to two off a beautifully redirected pass in front. Junior forward Kellie Dineen was assisted by junior defender Megan Dalbec and freshman defender Dayna Colang for her fourth goal of the season that made it 2-0.
Lewis thought Dineen’s quick goal served her squad a much needed wake-up call.
“I think they realized that if we were going to win this game, it was going to be up to them to do it and find a way to get past [that goal] and turn it up another notch,” she said. “I think [after that goal] it really was just them finally going on the attack and taking ownership of their game.
“They just refused to sit back after that,” she added.
The Black Bears were awarded a 5-on-3 advantage after consecutive Catamount penalties around the 12 minute mark, but could not find the twine.
Sophomore forward Hailey Browne was awarded a rare penalty shot a little over 2 minutes later after a UVM player was called for covering the puck during a scramble in the UVM crease. Browne froze Lanthier on a deke but her shot tinged off the post and bounced out, preserving the Catamounts’ two-goal advantage.
UMaine would score less than a minute later to cut the deficit to one. Sophomore defender Brittney Huneke’s third goal of the season went under review before eventually being upheld. Huneke was assisted by senior forward Brittany Dougherty and senior defender Chloe Tinkler on the play.
The Black Bears enjoyed a 23-5 shot disparity in the period despite being down on the scoreboard heading into the final stanza.
Browne scored the tying goal — her first of the season — with just under 11 minutes remaining in regulation off a centering pass from Dougherty. The senior’s second assist of the contest marks her team-high 15th of the season. She is now tied for sixth place in the Hockey East point race with 27 points.
“She is just a dominant player,” Lewis said. “She just has that ability to get the puck down to the other end and other teams really struggle to defend her. And she plays on every special team there is. She’s a force.”
Denk’s game-winner marked her first tally of the season. Tinkler recorded her second assist of the contest on the score less than 2 minutes into overtime to secure the Black Bear comeback.
“I think the win is going to help our team and boost confidence for next weekend,” Denk said. “I think overall it’ll help us get a nice jump start for next week.”
UMaine outshot the Catamounts 44-25 on Saturday as they move to 20-9-3 all-time against UVM with the win. UVM is now 3-5-2 in their last 10 meetings against the Black Bears.
“I think the players are finally figuring out what they can and can’t do and what they’re capable of, and I’m just proud that we got a win at home and something people can get excited about,” Lewis said.
“Regardless of our slow start to the season,” she added. “It’s not how you start; it’s how you finish.”
The Black Bears take to the road as they face the University of Connecticut at 1 p.m. on Jan. 26 and Providence at 2 p.m. on Jan. 27.
The Catamounts will take on Boston University at home on Jan. 25 before hosting Northeastern University on Jan. 27. Both contests are scheduled for 2 p.m.