On Friday night the University of Maine women’s hockey team traveled to Boston College for the first round of the Hockey East tournament. In the regular season, BC won both matchups between the two by one goal. This time, the Black Bears ended up on the right side of a one goal contest, winning 2-1 and advancing to the semifinals.
BC struck first midway through the first period. BC fifth-year forward Willow Corson picked the puck up behind the net and tucked it past UMaine goalie Jorden Mattison, who was unable to cover her post in time. The clever play by Corson gave BC a 1-0 lead. Second-year forward Caroline Goffredo and third-year defender Alexie Guay picked up assists on the BC goal.
It looked as if BC was going to enter the first intermission with a one goal lead, but a game-altering play occurred in the dying embers of the period. With only six seconds left, BC second-year defender Sidney Fess made a costly pass in front of her own net to second-year defender Maddie Crowley-Cahill. Crowley-Cahill fumbled the pass and UMaine first-year forward Alyssa Wruble pounced on the loose puck in front of the net and cashed in the opportunity to tie the game 1-1 at the end of the first period. The decision by Fess to make the pass in front of her own net in that situation was a bad one and flipped the momentum of the game.
Late in the second period, Crowley-Cahill again was involved in a play that ended up costing BC. She sent the Black Bears into a power play after getting called for tripping. On the power play UMaine hemmed BC in their own zone trying to set up a goal, but BC came out unscathed.
This was until late in the powerplay, when UMaine fourth-year forward Celine Tedenby passed the puck to first-year forward Mira Seregély in the slot. Seregély immediately bounced the puck back to the point where fifth-year captain Taylor Leech’s one-time bomb beat fifth-year BC goalie Abigail Levy to put UMaine up 2-1.
This big goal by the Black Bear captain was the eventual game winner, as Maine slowed the game down and kept BC off the score sheet the rest of the night with solid defense and Mattison making some key saves down the stretch.
Mattison was the shoe-in starter when fifth-year goalie Loryn Porter was injured in late January, averaging less than two goals per game since. In two games last weekend against the University of New Hampshire, she only let up one goal and luckily for UMaine, that form carried over to the playoffs. Mattison stopped 26 of 27 shots faced and picked up her first career playoff win.
Levy was also good for BC despite the loss. The BC goalie stopped 29 of 31 shots, and neither goal was really her fault. Both goalies played at a high level, and the team that made less costly mistakes came out on top.
Next, UMaine will face the no. 1 seed, Northeastern University Huskies. Northeastern is coming off of a 8-0 first round win versus Merrimack College. They’re currently ranked the third best team in the country, with a gaudy 28-4-2 record to back it up. The team won the last four Hockey East tournaments, along with the last four Hockey East regular season titles.
Beating them would unquestionably be the biggest win in UMaine women’s hockey history. The semifinals game versus Northeastern will take place at Northeastern at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday March 2. If UMaine wins, they will earn their first ever trip to the Hockey East title game.