UMaine seniors closing out standout careers

Posted Feb. 13, 2009, at 12:05 a.m.

ORONO, Maine — They wish they had been able to win more games during their four seasons at the University of Maine.

But Black Bear senior goaltender Genevieve Turgeon and senior center Vanessa Vani said they have no regrets about their decisions to attend Maine.

They will play their final home games this weekend when UConn visits Alfond Arena for Friday and Saturday afternoon games.

Maine visits Vermont for its final two games the following weekend.

Maine has gone 36-76-14 in their four years. They have played for three coaches.

Turgeon and Vani will both leave Maine with prestigious school records.

Turgeon already owns the school career record for saves (2,804) and games played (96) and she will set the single-season mark for saves with 77 over the next four games.

Vani owns the career record for assists with 60.

They expect Saturday’s home finale to be emotional.

“It’s going to be sad. I don’t want it to happen yet,” said Vani, a native of St. Catharines, Ontario.

“There will be a lot of emotion,” said Turgeon.

But the memories will be fond ones.

“I’ve enjoyed it. I’ve had a chance to play hockey and go to school. I learned time management and the value of being involved in the community. We tried to give back to the community. It was a very good feeling,” said Vani.

Turgeon, who grew up in French-speaking Lac Beauport, Quebec, said she learned the value of discipline and how to master the English language.

She said people questioned whether she would be able to overcome the language barrier “but I finally did it.”

Turgeon said she has been “happy” with her four years but downplayed her career saves record.

“I don’t look at that at all. I just worry about the next game and making the next save,” said Turgeon.

Vani, who has 34 goals and 60 assists in 124 career games and is the school’s third-leading all-time scorer, said the highlight of her career was the 5-5 overtime tie with powerhouse New Hampshire her freshman year.

For Turgeon, it was making the Hockey East playoffs that same season.

“It was a great year. We set the school record for wins (17),” said Turgeon, who has a 23-61-10 record with a 3.40 goals-against average and .898 save percentage in 96 games.

Both players are optimistic about the future of the program, pointing out that this was the first season in which they had the same coaching staff for two straight years.

“Stability will help the program,” said Vani, who hopes to go to graduate school next year and become a doctor of audiology.

Turgeon will return to Maine to get a master’s degree in business.

lmahoney@bangordailynews.net

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