This past weekend the University of Maine women’s ice hockey team hosted the University of Connecticut and Northeastern University at the Alfond Arena. Sadly for UMaine, they were held off the scoresheet in both games and dropped their record to 2-5-0.
On Friday evening, UMaine took on UConn. Coming into the weekend, UConn was boasting an undefeated record of 4-0-0. UMaine would attempt to put a blemish on that record, but UConn’s defense proved to be a unit too tough to crack for the Black Bears.
The first period saw very little offense from UMaine, only mustering a measly five shots to UConn’s 14. For UMaine, it would not get any easier as the night went on. UMaine only had 17 shots as a team collectively all night. UConn on the other hand would double that total with 34.
The theme of the night was UConn establishing possession in UMaine’s zone and getting pucks on net. Luckily for UMaine, second-year goalie Jorden Mattison was on her game and the Canadian native turned aside 33 of the 34 UConn shots.
The one shot she did not stop was hardly her fault. Midway through the second period, UConn gained the UMaine zone and a beautiful passing sequence led to fourth-year forward Viki Harkness netting the lone goal of the night. A pass into the slot by fifth-year defenseman Taylor Wabick was tipped by fifth-year forward Natalie Snodgrass to Harkness, who put it into the net.
UConn’s goalie Samantha Carpentier-Yelle had a low event 17 save shutout and picked up a win to improve UConn’s undefeated record to 5-0-0.
Last year, Northeastern eliminated UMaine in the semifinals of the Hockey East postseason tournament en route to their third straight title. They have been in the top ranks of the Hockey East division in recent history. Last year, they went 17-1-1 in Hockey East regular season play.
On Saturday night, Northeastern showed why they have been such a dominant force, but it did not initially seem as though this was the case early on. In the first period, UMaine was up for the challenge, outshooting Northeastern 15 to 8. Northeastern looked mortal and UMaine seemed to be the better team after one period.
However, once the second period started, Northeastern began to use their speed to expose UMaine’s defense. Numerous times zone to zone breakouts by Northeastern tested fifth-year UMaine goalie Loryn Porter. Porter for the most part played a good game, but Northeastern was not kept off the scoresheet.
One of these breakouts led to a two-on-one opportunity for Northeastern. Fifth-year forward Maddie Mills raced down the right wing and into the UMaine zone. Her passing lane was cut off by a UMaine defender so Mills had to shoot. She decided to put the puck on her backhand and impressively lifted it past Porter and into the net to put the Huskies up 1-0.
After this goal, the game became more open and this favored the Huskies. Five minutes later, Northeastern struck again. A puck battle on the boards in the UMaine zone saw Northeastern fifth-year forward Andrea Renner come out with the puck and a chance to put the puck on net. Renner ripped a laser beam wrist shot past Porter to extend the Huskies lead to 2-0.
UMaine fought in the third period to try and get a result but last year’s division one player of the year fifth-year goalie Aerin Frankel of Northeastern would not let a puck into the net. Frankel had a perfect night and posted a 34 save shutout to help Northeastern to victory. Northeastern added an empty netter in the dying moments of the game to seal the 3-0 win.
Despite the undesired results, UMaine head coach Richard Reichenbach did have some positive takeaways. “We didn’t win, but I thought compared to last weekend we took a step forward. I thought defensively we played really solid,” said Reichenbach. “Just need to obviously score goals, our powerplay we need to work on. We need to just finish rebounds and be better around the net.”
Hopefully, UMaine can find their scoring ways next weekend when they travel to the University of New Hampshire and Boston College. The women’s next home game at the Alfond Arena will be on Nov. 19 against Boston University.