The University of Maine women’s hockey team fell 6-4 to the Providence College Friars at Alfond Arena on Saturday. The Friars were lifted by a 3-0 second period, in which they outshot Maine 10-5.
Maine falls to 8-17-1 overall and 4-13-1 in Hockey East. Providence moves to 13-12-2 on the season and 8-7-2 in conference play.
Providence came out hot to start, gaining a 5-0 shot advantage early. It wasn’t long before third-year Providence forward Brooke Boquist swooped in down the left wing and flipped a backhanded shot over Maine first-year goalie Carly Jackson’s left leg for a 1-0 lead.
Five minutes later, Maine third-year forward Brooke Stacey found the back of the net on the assist from the first-year forward Tereza Vanisova to even the score 1-1.
But Providence had an answer in first-year forward Neve Van Pelt, who scored to make it 2-1 Friars.
With 4:01 to play in the first period, Maine suddenly came alive with two goals in a twelve second span to take a 3-2 lead into the first intermission.
At the start of the second period, Providence head coach Bob Deraney replaced starting first-year goalie Clare Minnerath with second-year Madison Myers, a move he hasn’t been afraid to make throughout the season.
“We’re waiting for a goaltender to distinguish themselves amongst the three goalies that we have,” Deraney said. “I thought that might help us. That was no slight to Clare, I was just trying to change the momentum of our team and it seemed to work. We had a terrific second period.”
Providence scored a barrage of goals in the second period, starting with fourth-year forward Cassidy Carels whipping the puck inside the right post to tie the game at 8:31. Just over three minutes later, it was first-year defenseman Rachel Rockwell unleashing a deadly slapshot that beat Jackson on her glove side and rocketed into the top right corner of the net.
After goals by first-year forward Meaghan Rickard and third-year forward Blair Parent, it was 6-3 Friars after two periods of play. That’s when Maine head coach Rick Reichenbach decided to make a goalie change of his own, bringing in fourth-year Mariah Fujimagari to relieve Jackson.
“Carly got bumped a couple of times and I just think we needed a change,” Reichenbach said. “We think both of our goalies are very good and Mariah did pretty well after that, so we were pretty happy with how she played after we made the change.”
It wasn’t just the Black Bears’ defense that struggled in the second period. Maine was also unable to generate any offense in the second period in which they were constantly on the defensive side of things.
“We had a fifteen minute brain lapse in the second period where I think we got a little nervous and down on ourselves and we’re still a really young team,” Reichenbach said. “Defensively, we just weren’t doing the things we needed to do.”
But Maine did not wilt and instead came back with a fiery offensive effort in the third period, outshooting the Friars 13-7. After a Providence penalty just 56 seconds into the period, Maine first-year forward Lydia Murray found the net on the power play at 2:04.
Despite many shots and chances, the Black Bears were unable to find the net in the final 18 minutes.
Maine outscored the Friars in the first and third periods by a combined 4-2. But it was Providence’s four goals in the second period that made all the difference.
“They [Providence] are really good at getting pucks in the net and picking corners and they took advantage of that,” Reichenbach said. “I think once we settled down in the last five minutes of the second and the third, we went back to playing our game.”
Deraney was happy with his team’s resilience, which he felt was showcased by their play in the second period. But he also acknowledged Maine’s ability to take advantage of his team’s mistakes.
“In the third period we did everything we could to let Maine back in the game. Maine’s a really good club and they took advantage of it. We had to scratch and claw to end up winning the game,” Deraney said. “So, we’ve gotta play better and we can play better, but I think Maine had a lot to do with it. They’re a really good club. Their record is really deceiving.”
Maine will look to get revenge Sunday in a rematch at 2 p.m. at home against Providence and avoid the weekend sweep.
Providence sweeps with Sunday victory
The Black Bears were back in action Sunday afternoon for the Hockey East Skating Strides game, falling 5-2 to the Providence College Friars at the Alfond Arena for the second day in a row.
The Friars got the scoring started with a power play goal after 1:41 of play, when sophomore defenseman Kate Friesen launched a slap shot past Black Bear goaltender and fourth-year Mariah Fujimagari. The offensive surge continued when first-year defenseman Rachel Rockwell scored on a 5 on 3 after recovering her own rebound, putting Providence up 2-0.
Maine would cut into the deficit with 10:11 to go in the period when first-year forward Jessica Jacques provided a burst of speed and in trying to keep the play alive, got a lucky bounce off of a Providence skater past second-year goaltender Madison Myer, putting the score at 2-1. It would be the first goal of Jacques’ collegiate career.
“I got a chip pass along the boards and their defenseman was bearing down on me,” Jacques said. “I just tried to skate around her and backhanded it away.”
When asked about the goal, Jacques laughed and said that she was waiting for it to come.
“It’s always good to get the first one out of the way,” Jacques said.
With a 5-3 advantage, the Black Bears would tie the game at 2 following a scrum in front of the net that saw first-year forward Tereza Vanisova poke the puck in for her 16th goal of the season.
The fireworks would carry over to the second period, when Friesen would net her second goal of the game with 18:41 to go in the second period, running the score to 3-2 Friars. Third-year forward Brooke Boquist extended the lead to 4-2 with a slap shot that sailed right over Fujimagari’s left shoulder with 9:21 to go in the period.
The Friars would add a final goal with less than a minute to go in the game, as third-year forward Madison Sansone potted an empty netter to run the score to 5-2.
Fujimagari would finish the game with 26 saves overall, as the Black Bears would fall to 8-18-1 on the season, including 4-14-1 in Hockey East play. They take on conference newcomer Merrimack College next weekend in North Andover, Massachusetts.