|UMaine||University of Connecticut|
STORRS, Conn. – Despite a thrilling game-tying goal in the final minute of play by Michelle Weis, the No. 9 Maine women’s ice hockey team dropped the match, 2-1, to the University of Connecticut Huskies in overtime at the Mark Edward Freitas Ice Forum on Friday evening.
The Huskies (8-11-8, 2-10-5 WHEA) pounced first, with a man advantage on the ice; Briana Colangelo worked the puck behind Maine’s (16-8-3, 10-5-2 WHEA) net over to Morgan Wabick to escape the hovering defense. Wabick fed the puck inside to Natalie Snodgrass who chipped it up and over Carly Jackson’s shoulder in net. UConn took the 1-0 lead midway through the power play, just 4:01 into the opening frame.
UConn continued to press Maine’s defense in the second period, firing shots at Jackson, forcing her to make countless impressive saves as she stifled one scoring opportunity after another. By the end of the middle stanza, Jackson had nearly tripled her total saves to 34 as the Huskies remained relentless on the attack.
After pulling Jackson from net with less than three minutes left in regulation, the Black Bears escaped a nerve-racking shot by the Huskies which just barely pinged off the pipe to keep Maine in the game. Nearly running out of time, the Black Bears pulled out a flurry of shots on Annie Belanger in net. Somehow, a pass from directly behind the net by Weis found the back of Belanger’s unsuspecting leg and bounced behind her into the back of the net to even up the score, 1-1, with just 1:05 left to play. Picking up the assists on the game-tying goal, were Lydia Murray and Brittany Kucera.
Both teams stepped onto the ice for overtime full of energy and drive, but only one pulled away with the win. With 3:40 left to play in overtime, Colangelo slid into action following up on a shot by Leah Lum deflected away by Jackson. She had enough momentum behind her sliding body on the ice to push the puck over the goal line capturing the 2-1 overtime victory. Theresa Knutson also picked up an assist clearing the puck out of her defensive end.
Jackson posted an outstanding game in between the pipes for Maine, despite the outcome, she turned away a career-high 45 shots. On her home ice, Belanger tallied 25 saves for the win.
The Black Bears will look to split the weekend with the Huskies as they face each other again in less than 24 hours, returning to the Mark Edward Freitas Ice Forum for a 3:00 p.m. puck drop.