The University of Maine women’s ice hockey team defeated the Sacred Heart Pioneers 4-0 on the first night of their 2019-20 season, on Friday, Oct. 4.
The Black Bears came out firing to start off the first period. Just a minute into the contest, second-year forward Liga Miljone collected her first goal of the season and gave Maine the lead, with an assist from third-year forward Maddie Giordano.
Fourth-year forward Tereza Vanisova stole the puck from the Pioneers on the ensuing possession, tore down past the blue line and netted her first goal of the season past Sacred Heart second-year goaltender Frankie Sanchez. First-year forward Claire Coffman picked up the assist on the play, tallying her first career point. The second period became a defensive battle between Sacred Hearts’ Sanchez and Maine’s third-year goaltender Loryn Porter, as they stopped every shot they faced. With three minutes remaining in the period, Miljone snuck another puck past Sanchez to give Maine the 3-0 lead, thanks to an assist from Vanisova. As the third-period action got underway, Vanisova scored her second goal of the night and picked up her third point of the night. Porter picked up the win and collected her first shutout of the season, and Maine’s defense held as the Black Bears outshot the Pioneers 45-17.
Maine went on to defeat the Sacred Heart Pioneers 7-0 in game two of the weekend series. Following game one of the series, Maine’s offensive chemistry was on full display once more. Less than a minute into the game, fourth-year defender Brittany Colton scored to give Maine the early advantage. Following some aggressive exchanges between the zones over an ensuing two minute period, second-year defender Ida Press managed to break through the Pioneers’ defense, poking the puck past Sanchez to put Maine up 2-0.
The Black Bears were able to put another score on the board as the first period neared its conclusion, with fourth-year forward Vendula Pribylova scoring her first goal of the season, giving Maine the 3-0 lead heading into the first intermission. Second-year forward Ali Beltz and first-year forward Ida Kuoppala had assists on the play. Kuoppala continued to impress on the ice, racking up her first collegiate goal with 13 minutes left to play in the second, running up the already daunting Maine lead. With just four minutes remaining in the period, the Black Bears scored goal five, coming off the stick of second-year forward Ally Johnson. Vanisova and third-year forward Daria Tereshkina picked up the assists on the play.
Sacred Heart couldn’t find an answer against Maine’s high tempo offense and seemingly impenetrable zone defense. Heading into the third period, Beltz scored 23 seconds after the opening faceoff, extending Maine’s lead to 6-0. Less than a minute after Beltz’s score, Coffman put the icing on the cake with her first collegiate goal, increasing the Black Bears lead to 7-0. Giordano picked up an assist on the play. Fourth-year goaltender Carly Jackson was able to come away with the win in the contest, moving the Black Bears to 1-0-0 on the young season, while also picking up her first shutout of the 2019-20 season. Maine has dominated in both games as they outshot the Pioneers 43-16 and won the faceoff battle 35-20.
The Black Bears look to stay hot as they host Quinnipiac at Alfond Arena on Friday, Oct. 11 and Saturday, Oct. 12.