The University of Maine women’s hockey team suffered a tough home loss in the first game of a weekend double header against rival University of New Hampshire (UNH) on Saturday. Although Maine kept it close in the beginning, UNH pulled away in the final two periods to earn the win by a score of 5-1.
After a quiet opening period, the scoring began in the second period, as third-year forward Jonna Curtis skated around the back of the net for a wrap around goal at the 17:10 mark. The goal came while both teams were skating 4 on 4. The Wildcats kept on the attack 10 minutes later, when third-year forward Cassandra Vilgrain flicked a wrist shot, deflecting off of fourth-year goaltender Meghann Treacy’s pads and into the net, giving UNH a 2-0 lead at the end of the second.
The scoring opened up in the third and final period. An unfortunate pass across the middle by a UNH player deflected off a Maine defenders skate into their own goal, giving UNH a 3-0 lead. Less than a minute later, UNH second-year forward Amy Boucher came flying down the side of the ice with a defender draped all over her, crossed over right before the goal and scored on a top shelf shot to put the Wildcats up 4-0.
Maine finally got the puck in the net 13:21 into the third period, converting on their power play, as a shot was ricocheted off the boards behind the goal only for fourth-year forward Audra Richards to sneak it by the UNH goalie to bring the score to 4-1. As that penalty expired, Maine pulled Treacy to give them an extra forward on the offensive end. The puck was then stolen by UNH second-year defender Amy Schlegel, and she scored on an open net with less than two minutes left in the game, bringing the final tally to 5-1 in favor of the Wildcats.
Maine got outshot in this game 22-53, proving to be the major difference in the game.
A positive aspect of this game actually came in between the pipes. Treacy recorded a staggering 48 saves in the loss, bringing her to fifth place in the Hockey East in saves recorded on the season. She finished with a .905 save percentage.
Even after a tough home loss, Richards remained focused.
“We definitely took steps to improving as a whole team today,” Richards said following the game. “We’ve been taking small steps every game, as long as we keep our intensity up we can compete in every game we play in.”
It was clear throughout the entire game that Maine wasn’t accepting defeat. They still remain confident in the rest of their season, and believe they can still finish strong and lay the foundation for future seasons.
“Every game is winnable on our remaining schedule. We have the confidence that we can compete with every team we face,” Richards said.
The Black Bears now look to quickly recover, as they play game two of the weekend double header against UNH on Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. at the Alfond.
Black Bears blanked in game two
Game two of the weekend double header against the University of New Hampshire (UNH) did not go as planned for the University of Maine women’s hockey team on Sunday afternoon. A strong first and second period by the Wildcats proved to be the difference in the end, as the Wildcats shutout the Black Bears 3-0.
With the shot total nearly even in the first period, the Wildcats opened up the scoring with a wrap around goal by second-year forward Carlee Toews to give her team a 1-0 lead. The goal was Toews second goal on the season.
The scoring continued for UNH in the second period. Third-year forward Cassandra Vilgrain got a short break away and backhanded the puck past fourth-year goaltender Meghann Treacy to increase their lead to 2-0 early in the period. Shortly after, there was a change in net, as backup third-year goaltender Mariah Fujimagari replaced Treacy. Then, 15:42 into the period, Fujimagari gave up a goal to the Wildcats fourth-year captain Sara Carlson. The Wildcats were on a 5-on-3 skating advantage for Carlson’s goal. The goal was a wrist shot from the center of the ice that zoomed past Fujimagari’s glove side to give UNH a 3-0 lead at the end of the second.
A very quiet third period concluded the game, with no goals being scored. Maine edged UNH in shots in the period by 5, but could not put the puck in the net. The Black Bears were only outshot by one by the end of the contest, but failed to score on the UNH first-year goaltender Kyra Smith, who finished with a .981 save percentage on the weekend.
The Black Bears also weren’t able to convert on power plays on Sunday, going 0-for-3 on their opportunities, while the Wildcats converted 1-of-3.
Although the Black Bears are on now a five game losing streak, their coach remains confident and positive.
“We battled the whole game,” Head Coach Richard Reichenbach said.
“We improved off of yesterday’s game, better puck decisions, and on the forechecks. Yesterday we had I think three scoring chances, but we did much better at creating more chances for ourselves today,” Reichenbach added.
The Black Bears played hard on Sunday, hanging tough despite the three early goals, and held the Wildcats scoreless in the final period of play.
“I think we outplayed them today, we just didn’t score,” Reichenbach said.
A positive note was the mid-game insertion of backup goalie Fujimagari. She finished with 21 saves on the game, only giving up one power play goal.
“Mariah gives us everything she’s got every time she’s in the net. She held tough, especially her nice breakaway save in the third. She came in and did her job very well,” Reichenbach said.
The Black Bears now travel down to Providence next weekend for a doubleheader against their Hockey East rival. Maine looks to end their five game losing skid and finish the remainder of the season on a high note.