Women’s hockey topped by UNH

The University of Maine (8-16-1, 4-12-1 HEA) women’s hockey team fell to their arch-rival University of New Hampshire (UNH) Wildcats (11-13-1, 9-7-1 HEA) on Friday, 4-1 at UNH’s Whittemore Center. The Wildcats were led by second-year forward Devan Taylor, who tallied one goal and two assists for a career-high three points.

After a scoreless first period in which both teams had power play opportunities, New Hampshire was able to net two goals early in the second. At 1:15 into the second period, third-year defenseman Julia Fedeski threaded a pass through the neutral zone that found fourth-year forward Jonna Curtis’s stick for the 1-0 lead. Curtis led the Wildcats with nine shots. NInety-six seconds later, it was second-year defenseman Marie-Jo Pelletier slotting it past the goalie off of assists from Taylor and third-year forward Ali Praus, for her second career goal. Just like that, it was 2-0 Wildcats after two periods of play.

After third-year defenseman Amy Schlagel put New Hampshire up 3-0, Maine first-year forward Kara Washer was able to break through for an unassisted goal. Washer stole the puck in the neutral zone, beat a defender and placed the puck right inside the right post to make it 3-1 with less than five minutes to play.

After pulling first-year goalie Carly Jackson, who finished with 33 saves, Maine could not mount a comeback and ceded the fourth UNH goal by Taylor on an empty net as time expired. It was Taylor’s third goal of the season.

New Hampshire’s 37 shots were the third highest they have had this season. It’s also only the second time they held their opponents to less than two goals this season  the last time was Nov. 20 in a 2-1 win over Providence. Wildcats Second-year goalie Hilary Cashin recorded 21 saves in the win.

With a quarter of the season left to play, New Hampshire currently sits in fourth in Hockey East, while Maine is eighth. Maine’s offense is clearly the outlier, as the Black Bears’ 51 goals this season is the lowest of any team in the conference. Maine is also tied with Merrimack for the fewest number of wins in conference play (4).

Coming off two straight wins and going up against a team they’d tied 2-2 earlier in the season, Maine cannot have been happy with the outcome of game number one. Fortunately, the Black Bears faced a quick turnaround as they play the Wildcats again less than 24 hours later on Saturday afternoon, seeking revenge.

Maine gets shutout, 7-0, by UNH

After a scoreless first period, the University of Maine women’s hockey team gave up two goals in the second and five goals in the third, losing to the University of New Hampshire Wildcats 7-0 on Saturday afternoon. The Wildcats were led by a hat trick from fourth-year forward Jonna Curtis, who also finished with three assists. Curtis’s six points were the most by a Wildcat since 2004.

The game was an even back and forth battle in the first frame, with Maine’s first-year goalie Carly Jackson making six saves and New Hampshire’s second-year goalie Hilary Cashin making five.

It wasn’t until midway through the second period when things started to really go the Wildcats’ way. At 15:16 into the period, first-year forward Abby Chapman started the scoring when her shot deflected off Jackson for the 1-0 lead. Curtis added one of her own, 1:51 later, corralling a loose puck in the neutral zone, splitting two defenders and wristing it past Jackson to make it 2-0.

Just over two minutes into the final frame, it was Curtis again on a pass from second-year defenseman Marie-Jo Pelletier, putting an end to Jackson’s night in goal for the Black Bears as she was replaced by fourth-year Mariah Fujimagari. Jackson finished with 16 saves on 19 shots.

Things didn’t get any easier for the Black Bears with a new goalie on the ice. Twenty-three seconds after the substitution, UNH third-year forward Carlee Toews took a pass from Curtis and made it 4-0 Wildcats.

After a power play goal by third-year defenseman Julia Fedeski, Curtis completed her hat trick with just under five minutes to play, again splitting two defenders and tucking the puck inside the left post. Curtis now has 16 goals on the season and 93 points in her UNH career.

Pelletier finished the rout with a power play goal, sneaking the puck through traffic and into the net to make it 7-0.

This was the largest margin of defeat for the Black Bears this season and it was New Hampshire’s first shutout since nearly a year ago, when they defeated Maine 3-0 on Jan. 24, 2016. Their seven goals were the most they’ve scored since Oct. 26, 2013, when they beat Penn State 8-5.

UNH has already matched last year’s win total of 11. Maine needs two wins in their remaining seven games to match last year’s win total of ten. It was the largest margin of defeat in any game this season for the Black Bears, who fall to 8-16-1 on the season and 4-12-1 in Hockey East. New Hampshire improves to 11-13-1 overall and 9-7-1 in conference play.

Maine now has a week to prepare and regroup themselves for Providence College (12-11-2, 7-6-2 HEA), who currently sit in sixth place in the Hockey East standings. The two teams face off next Saturday, Jan. 28 at 2 p.m. at Alfond Arena. New Hampshire returns home to face second place Northeastern Saturday, Jan. 28.

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