On a weekend where the spotlight primarily focused on football, the University of Maine women’s ice hockey team beat the University of New Hampshire Wildcats on Friday with a final score of 5-3.
Right out of the gate the Black Bears took control of the game, as second-year forward Michelle Weis fired the puck past Wildcats’ second-year goalie Ava Boutilier just two minutes into the first period, notching her first goal of the season.
The Black Bears didn’t ease off the throttle from there, as third-year forward Vendula Pribylova took advantage of a power play, finding the back of the net to put UMaine up 2-0. Pribylova was assisted by first-year defender Ida Press, for her fourth goal on the season.
The Wildcats managed to get on the scoreboard thanks to third-year forward Meghara McManus, who won a faceoff and single handedly got past the Black Bears’ defenders for the goal. Tying the game just before the end of the first period, third-year forward Nicole Dunbar found the back of the net on a shot assisted by fellow third-year forward Carlee Turner.
With both goalies facing heavy pressure, UMaine and UNH tightened up their defenses in the second period, allowing zero goals through the first 17 minutes of action. Breaking the deadlock was UMaine first-year forward Celine Tedenby, who scored with the assistance of Press, marking her second goal for the season.
In the final period of play, UMaine third-year forward Tereza Vanisoza scored her sixth goal of the season with an assist from Weis, putting the Black Bears up 4-2.
Neither team managed to be productive offensively until the last minute of the game, when UNH redshirt third-year forward Taylor Wenczkowski scored off of a pass from fourth-year forward Devan Taylor. With under a minute to play and the score at 4-3, the Wildcats pulled their goalie and had six attackers on the ice to try and score the tying goal. However, the Black Bears’ third-year defender Brittany Colton had other ideas, scoring on the empty net with the assistance of fourth-year defender Alyson Matteau. Sealing the fate of the long time rival UNH, the Black Bears both on the ice and in the stands roared, kicking off homecoming weekend with a bang.
This was yet another win in a spectacular season for the Black Bears so far, now with a total of seven wins. At the start of the season, this success was attributed by head coach Richard Richenbach to a nurturing of fundamentals.
This rang true in the preparation for the game against New Hampshire with the emphasis in training on more aggressive play that games against UNH always demonstrate. “Our defensive players will practice without sticks to train for that more physical contact or we’ll create more situations with physical contact.” Richenbach said.
He added that there was a lot of anticipation for the match since it was the first time facing UNH for the first-year players. “No matter what type of season we’re having as a group, it’s always something we look forward to and it was nice for the freshmen to get a taste of that.”
Vanisova also stated that UNH played very aggressively, with many unofficial slashes and slander being spouted by the Wildcats. But she said she enjoyed the challenge and that it got her revved up for the contest.
“The goalie was slashing at us and yelling at us.” Vanisova said. Speaking on keeping energy up in times when the scoring was low, she added, “Our motivation is to win.”
The next tilt for the Black Bears is on the road against Merrimack College on Nov. 2.