It was a bumpy weekend for the University of Maine women’s ice hockey team, as they were swept in a home doubleheader by the Vermont Catamounts this weekend. UMaine’s defense and goaltending allowed a combined 13 goals across the two games after having a strong start to the season.
The first game of the weekend’s doubleheader actually started off well for the Black Bears when third-year defender Elise Morphy scored on a strange bouncing puck that snuck by third-year goaltender Jessie McPherson just 38 seconds into the game. This was Morphy’s first goal of the season.
From there, it was all Catamounts. Seven minutes after the Morphy goal, second-year forward Evelyne Blais-Savoie scored the first goal for UVM, and they poured it on from there. After two more first-period goals, UMaine coach Molly Engstrom decided to pull the starting goaltender, third-year Jorden Mattison, for first-year netminder Brooklyn Oakes.
It didn’t do much good as either goalie in the typically strong tandem was able to withstand the pressure effectively. Vermont scored three more goals, including a shorthanded goal to third-year forward Natalie Mlynkova for her third goal of the game to secure the hat trick.
There were not many silver linings for UMaine in the Friday loss, and they looked to improve upon that performance in the second game of the doubleheader.
UMaine decided to give Oakes the start for the second game, and she ended up allowing five goals on 26 shots in the 7-2 loss. Vermont started the scoring when third-year forward Tynka Patkova scored a bottle-popper goal that required further review to confirm due to the speed at which it entered and exited the net.
UMaine actually battled back and took the lead when second-year forward Alyssa Wruble and fifth-year forward Grace Heiting scored consecutive goals midway through the first period.
Wruble scored on a beautiful backhand move made possible by a breakout pass by third-year forward Rahel Enzler, and Heiting scored on the power play after sending a one-timer home. Morphy was credited with the first assist for the good pass.
The Catamounts quickly answered back with two more first-period goals to take a 3-2 lead into the intermission. Things did not turn back from this point as Vermont continued to pour on the offense in what proved to be an absolutely dominant road weekend.
Blais-Savoie contributed two goals to Vermont’s total of seven, and Mlynkova threw in her fourth goal of the weekend. Jessie McPherson was a reliable netminder all weekend, coming up with 23 saves in the first contest, and 19 in the second, allowing just three goals across the span of the weekend series.
Series losses like this are about what preseason pollsters expected out of a young UMaine team that has yet to adjust to the competitive Hockey East climate. They have shown moments of brilliance so far, and it’s a long season ahead.
The sweep leaves UMaine with an overall record of 6-7-0 and a record of 4-4-0 in the conference. They’ll host a Hockey East doubleheader against Holy Cross on Nov. 11 and 12.