Both the University of Maine men’s ice hockey and basketball teams were not cleared to play this weekend, but both the women’s basketball and hockey teams were. The women’s ice hockey team being cleared meant they were able to travel to Storrs, Connecticut to take on the University of Connecticut Huskies. Originally they were scheduled to play on Friday and Saturday, but a decision was made to cancel the Saturday game and only play the game scheduled for Friday. This change was most likely due to UMaine Athletics’ recent struggles with COVID-19.
UMaine went on to lose the game on Friday 3-0 to UConn. UConn controlled the play for the majority of the game, most notably in the first period in which they outshot Maine 18-9. However, UMaine fourth-year goalie Loryn Porter was up to the task and looked very sharp early. Her play allowed UMaine to head into the first intermission tied 0-0.
UConn would continue to press and eventually got rewarded for their work midway through the second period when fourth-year forward Natalie Snodgrass put a puck on net that finally found a way past the Black Bears’ Porter. A great pass from third-year UConn forward Viki Harkness gave Snodgrass a practically empty net to shoot at, and that is what it took to finally get one past Porter.
UMaine would fight back and put in a good effort, but they just never seemed to threaten UConn consistently enough. Third-year UConn goalie Sam Carpentier-Yelle would earn the shutout for the Huskies, her third on the season. Carpentier-Yelle put in a great performance, stopping all 29 of the Black Bears’ shots.
Late in the third period, UConn would strike two more times. With around five minutes left in the game, third-year UConn forward Danika Pasqua would beat goalie Porter and give UConn some breathing space as they finished out a solid team performance. With 20 seconds left in the game, third-year UConn forward Jada Habisch would score an empty netter to really put the nail in the coffin.
One thing that is important to note is that UMaine was playing this game with five fewer skaters than UConn. This advantage was noticeable when it came to observing the performance of each team. UConn seemed to have the fresher and faster skaters on the ice due to this advantage. The Black Bears were also missing some key players, such as leading scorer and second-year forward Ida Kuoppala, second-year defender Ella MacLean and third-year forward Liga Miljone. With valuable players missing, Friday’s game was an uphill battle from the start.
The UConn women’s team improved their record to 6-9-1, and they sit in fourth place in the Hockey East standings. UMaine’s record drops to 5-7, and they sit just two spots below UConn in sixth place. With both of these teams being middle of the pack in the Hockey East standings, it may be a matchup we see again in the first round of the Hockey East conference playoffs.
With the current move to announce the schedules the week of the games because of COVID-19, neither team knows who their next opponent will be or when their next game is. UConn has played 16 games, the second most in the 10 team conference. UMaine has played 12 games, the third least in the conference.