The University of Maine Women’s Ice Hockey team took on the University of New Hampshire on Oct. 13. The Black Bears fell short 3-2 against their rival Wildcats. This was Maine’s first game of the Hockey East Conference this season.
It was the home opener for the Women’s team at the Alfond Arena, with a strong showing from the Black Bears. The starting line for the Black Bears was fourth-year forward Rahel Enzler, fifth-year forward Ann-Frederique Guay and fifth-year forward Ida Kuoppala. On defense, first-year Sophia Johnson, fourth-year Elise Morphy and fourth-year Jorden Mattison were in the net.
The Black Bears were strong on offense and defense in the first period against the Wildcats. The Black Bears put pressure on the Wildcat offense and defense throughout the period. With 10 minutes left in the first period, Wildcat forward fourth-year Chavonne Tutter scored, giving New Hampshire the lead. Goal assisted by graduate student Tamara Thierus and fourth-year Brianna Legros.
The Black Bears matched the strength and speed of the Wildcats. With five minutes remaining in the first period, Danika Botterill scored for the Wildcats on a power play. Third-year Shea Verrier assisted the goal. Giving the Wildcats a two-goal lead. The period consisted of three power plays for the Wildcats and one for the Black Bears. Maine recorded 15 shots on net, while New Hampshire had eight shots on net for the period.
Heading into the second period, the Black Bears tried to keep strength and put pressure on the Wildcats goalie with more shots on the net, but none got in. The Wildcats made the game a three-goal lead with three minutes left in the second period. The goal was scored by fifth-year defenseman Rae Breton, assisted by fifth-year Mikah Baptiste.
The period was very physical for both teams, with the Wildcats trying to keep the lead while the Black Bears were pushing for a goal. Maine had three power plays in the period, while the Wildcats had one power play. Once again, Maine outshot the Wildcats in the period, putting 13 shots on the net, while the Wildcats had seven shots on the net.
During the third period, the Black Bears rallied, and Kuoppala scored her 50th career goal, assisted by Enzler. Kuoppala has already scored five goals this season and leads the Black Bears so far this season. Mattison saved 19 of the 22 shots on net. Wildcat first-year goalie Blair Sedona saved 36 shots on the net.
Giving the Black Bears a 3-1 game, with 18 seconds left, first-year forward Haley Ryan made it a one-goal game. This was Ryan’s second goal of the season; first-year defenseman Ashley Kokavec and Kuoppala assisted the goal. This was not enough to defeat UNH, though, as they lost 3-2.
Both teams had one power play. UMaine had 10 shots on net this period, while the Wildcats had 7 seven. The majority of the penalties were roughing for both teams.
The Black Bears will be back in action on Friday, Oct. 20, and Saturday, Oct. 21, in Providence against the Providence College Friars. The next game at the Alfond for the Women’s team is Oct. 27 at 6 p.m. against Boston University.