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Women’s ice hockey loses to Merrimack, redeems with shutout of Holy Cross

The University of Maine women’s ice hockey team fell to the Merrimack College Warriors 4-3 in overtime on Friday, Nov. 8. Both squads flew onto the ice and played with intensity on both sides of the blue line, but impressive defensive efforts by both teams held the first period scoreless, with Maine taking ten shots on goal to Merrimack’s six.

Second-year forward Ali Beltz, on a breakaway set up by second-year forward Liga Miljone,  beat the Warriors’ fourth-year goaltender Lea-Kristine Demers.

Merrimack’s fourth-year forward Mikyla Grant-Mentis found the net just three minutes later, beating Maine’s third-year goaltender Loryn Porter just above her blocker. Third-year forward Dominika Laskova was credited with the assist on the goal. 

Maine’s second-year forward Celine Tedenby broke the tie two minutes later, taking off on a breakaway of her own set up by Beltz, who snagged the puck away from a Warriors attacker and shot it up the ice to the awaiting Tedenby. Tedenby aimed to run up the score for Maine, giving the team a solid lead heading into the intermission and she hit her target. Maine skated into the Warriors’ zone on the powerplay to end the second period. After moving the puck around to find an opening, first-year defenseman Amalie Andersen found a wide-open Tedenby, who buried the one-time clapper behind Demers, sending both teams to the locker room with a 3-1 score.

Whatever head coach Erin Hamlen said to her Warriors squad at the intermission seemed to do the trick, as Merrimack tore back onto the ice with their heads focused on the comeback. On the power play, Grant-Mentis fired in a laser from the top of the box and first-year forward Dani Castino, with Maine defenders surrounding her, navigated through the traffic to bury a wrist shot behind Porter, decreasing Maine’s advantage to one.

Second-year defenseman Kiki Roust tied the game with five minutes to go, planting herself unmarked in the crease, where she handled a pass from Grant-Mentis and decked out Porter for the leveling score. In overtime, Grant-Mentis handled a stretch pass from second-year forward Gabby Jones in the defensive zone, taking the puck at center and shoveling through three defensemen to break in on goal. She took the space in close, faking right to get the goaltender to commit before throwing it in the near side.

Following their disappointing loss to the Warriors, the Black Bears headed to Worcester, Massachusetts to storm Holy Cross’s barn. And storm it they did, as fourth-year goaltender Carly Jackson got her second shutout of the season en route to a 3-0 Maine victory. 

Miljone opened the scoring with some help from second-year forward Ally Johnson and fourth-year defenseman Ebba Strandberg. At the end of the first period, Maine held onto the one-goal lead. The second period was scoreless as Holy Cross outshot Maine 19-4, but Jackson acted as a brick wall, stopping everything sent her way. With three minutes left in the third period, Tedenby doubled Maine’s lead and picked up her third goal of the season. She received the lob pass from fourth-year defenseman Brittany Colton, who picked up her sixth assist of the season. With just 38 seconds left in the game, Miljone scored her second goal of the season as she scored an empty-net goal to push the lead to 3-0. Maine was outshot by Holy Cross 28-21, but played great situational hockey and capitalized on their opportunities to collect two crucial conference points. Maine’s record is now 4-4-2 overall and 2-3-1 in Hockey East matchups.

The University of Maine women’s hockey team will face off against Providence College on Friday, Nov. 15 and the University of Connecticut on Sunday, Nov. 17 both at 2 p.m.

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