The University of Maine women’s ice hockey team hosted the University of Vermont Catamounts on Saturday, Feb. 23, for their senior night in front of the home crowd.
Maine came into the game short handed, as fourth-year defender Alyson Matteau, fourth-year forward Cailey Hutchison and third-year defender Brittany Kucera were unable to compete in the final game of the season due to events off the ice. In addition, second-year Maggie Blair, in a related event, is no longer shown on the team’s roster. The lack of a veteran presence on the night of honor for the Black Bears that sweat and bled throughout their college career didn’t diminish the spirits of Maine’s players.
Kicking off the first period, the Black Bears were ready to fight their way to the end of the season, striking first in the contest. Picking up the dumped puck behind the Catamounts net, first-year forward Ali Beltz dished the puck up the ice to a waiting third-year defender Brittany Colton, who clapped a one-timer past Vermont’s first-year goaltender Blanka Skodova, giving the Black Bears a 1-0 lead. With five minutes remaining in the period, fourth-year Catamount defender Sammy Kolowrat intercepted the puck between two Maine defenders and took off into the zone for the one–on–one against third-year goaltender Carly Jackson. Kolowrat flicked the wrist shot behind Jackson for the tying score. Colton’s goal was only one of three shots taken by Maine at the Catamounts’ net for the entire period, with Vermont able to take nine shots at the Black Bears goal in the same frame, and Jackson stopping the other eight shots from the Catamounts.
Heading into the second period, both teams exchanged a barrage of attacks on net, but neither was able to muster a successful attempt until six minutes remained in the period. In similar fashion to the Black Bears’ first goal of the night, Catamounts’ second-year forward Kristina Shanahan scooped up the loose puck behind Maine’s net and passed it up the ice to third-year forward Eve-Audrey Picard, who clapped the one timer past Jackson and the traffic in the crease. Both teams traded offensive drives down the ice for the remainder of the period, but the defenses held strong heading into the intermission.
Skating back onto the ice after the break, the Black Bears took off on offense. With the assist of a power play, Maine fired ten shots at Skodova, but none were able to find their mark. Following the conclusion of the power play, fourth-year forward Lydia Murray, Maine’s lone fourth-year on the ice that day, fed the puck up the ice to Colton. Colton, splitting two Catamounts defenders, crossed the blue line with only Skodova standing between her and the net. Instead of going for the high speed pursuit, Colton came to a quick stop and sent a wrist shot through Skodova’s five hole to tie the game at 2-2. Neither team was able to ring the buzzer once more in regulation, sending the game into overtime. Heading into the extra period, neither team was able to gain a substantial advantage, running out the five minutes and ending the game in a tie.
Post game, the Black Bears honored Murray for her time playing for Maine, as she competed in 111 games and scored 16 goals in her time for the Black Bears.
Maine finished ninth out of ten teams in the hockey east division, outside of playoff contention, and will look to improve for next season.