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Black Bears edge out Catamounts on Friday

Fans packed Alfond Arena this past Friday afternoon as the University of Maine Black Bears were set to take on the Catamounts of the University of Vermont. The Black Bears have begun to hit their stride over the past couple of weeks as they come in winners of two straight games dating back to early November.

The game was fast; both teams were jetting up and down the ice to start the first period. The game’s first chance came at about seven minutes into the first period when third-year forward Mira Seregely went coast-to-coast skating 200 feet before firing a wrist shot right past the glove of fourth-year Catamount goalie Jessie McPherson. Vermont responded quickly after the goal. Second-year defensemen Krista Parkkonen and fifth-year player Hailey Burns had back-to-back opportunities for the Catamounts but were turned away by first-year goalie Julia Bachetti. Maine was able to capitalize on the good goaltending, and as the first period winding down, fourth-year forward Rachel Enzler was able to cash in on a golden scoring opportunity to give the Black Bears a 2-0 lead into the first break. 

Photo by Owen Bulmer

Just 90 seconds into the second period, first-year defenseman Hailey Eikos had Vermont’s best chance of the afternoon. Still, it was unable to cash in again due to Bachetti’s stellar goaltending. Bachetti stood tall for the first four minutes of the period, but the pressure became too much as second-year forward Lara Beecher buried her wrist shot to cut the Black Bear lead in half.

Shortly after, Black Bear fifth-year senior forward Abby Latorella and third-year defensemen Jamie Grinder had back-to-back opportunities in front of the Catamount goal, but Mcpherson made two excellent saves to keep the score at 2-1. Vermont gave themselves a scare when McPherson came out to play a puck that almost ended up in their own goal, as the puck hit the post and was redirected towards the corner, avoiding disaster. Both teams traded power play opportunities but headed into the second intermission at 2-1, with the Black Bears in the lead.

Opportunities came few and far between in the third period. Both teams did everything they could to limit any chances, especially in front of the net. The game got more physical, with both teams’ fans growing restless as the officials let the physical play go. Maine got the best look of the period just over halfway through. Enzler once again got a two-on-one break with Seregely, and after a perfect feed, Enzler was able to bury her second goal of the game and push the Black Bear lead back to two.

Photo by Owen Bulmer

The Catamounts turned up the aggressiveness, but the defense of the Black Bears was just too much to overcome. First-year forward for the Catamounts, Kaylee Lewis, was able to score as the third period winded down, but with less than a second remaining, the Black Bears secured the 3-2 win. Bachetti had 29 saves in the win and continued to build momentum towards their Saturday, Dec. 9 matchup against Dartmouth College at the Cross Insurance Center in Portland.

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