ORONO — Four important seniors will play their final home games this season when the University of Maine women’s hockey team will host recently crowned Women’s Beanpot Tournament champion Northeastern University on Saturday and Sunday afternoons at Alfond Arena. Both games begin at 2 p.m.
Maine is 5-20-3 overall, 2-13-2 in Hockey East while Northeastern is 16-10-2 and 8-7-1, respectively.
Maine concludes the regular season with two games at New Hampshire on Feb. 23-24.
Center Brittany Dougherty (123 career games, 44 goals, 53 assists, 97 points), defenseman Chloe Tinkler (127, 4-27-31) and goaltenders Brittany Ott (103, 32-50-13, 2.72 goals-against average, .914 save percentage) and Kylie Smith (13, 3-3-3, 3.03, .871) have been “instrumental” in the program’s turnaround two years ago, according to coach Maria Lewis.
After winning just six games their freshman year, which gave the program 25 in a four-year stretch, the Black Bears went 12-17-5 two years ago and, last year, set a school record with 11 Hockey East victories to go with 17 overall wins, which tied a school record. Maine went 17-11-6 and 11-8-2, respectively.
“They bought into what we were doing and helped put us on the map,” said Lewis.
Smith, according to Lewis, “set a great example for the other players with her perseverance and work ethic on and off the ice. And she has been very involved in the community. She epitomizes what a student-athlete should be.”
Tinkler has shown significant improvement over her career and has “really stepped up as a captain this year” to provide quality leadership, said Lewis.
Lewis said Ott has had a “tremendous career and has always given us a fighting chance to win. She also won the Iron Bear last year given to the top female athlete at Maine when it comes to weight training.”
Dougherty is leading the team in scoring for the third straight year and has been able to “dominate and take charge” despite being subjected to the opposing team’s best checkers night in and night out.
She has 11-18-29 in 27 games.
“She put us on the map with the United States National Team as did Ott,” said Lewis referring to the fact both have attended U.S. National Team camps during their careers at Maine.