SCHENECTADY, N.Y. – Maine women’s ice hockey improved their overall record to 10-6-2 (4-3-1 WHEA) as they pulled out a 2-1 victory with the game-winning goal scored by Catherine Tufts in the final minutes of regulation play. With this victory, the Black Bears have already accumulated as many wins as they have in each of the past three seasons.
Scoring opened up 6:13 into the match, off a one-timer by Daria Tereshkina for her second goal of the season. Tereza Vanisova made this scoring opportunity a possibility, stealing the puck away from Union as they attempted to clear it out of their end. She dropped it back to Brittany Kucera positioned at the point, who found Tereshkina open in the middle of the ice sliding a perfect pass her way as the Black Bears once again established a first period, 1-0, lead over the Dutchwomen (3-9-2, 2-2-0 ECAC).
With 12 minutes left in the middle frame, the Dutchwomen narrowly escaped a goal by Vanisova that would have doubled Maine’s lead. Her shot had the puck bouncing around behind Union goaltender Coco Francis, flirting with the goal line as a Union player pulled it out just before it fully crossed over into the net. It was such a close call that the referees had to review the play to be sure the puck did not go in.
Union tied up the match, 1-1, five minutes into the third period, with a goal by Caitlyn McLaren. Her first attempt at a shot was nearly a whiff, but she regained control of the puck and knocked it bouncing towards net, right through teammate Katie Laughlin’s legs who planted herself directly in front of Carly Jackson blocking her view completely. Hannah Schultz picked up an assist on the goal.
Vanisova tacked on her second assist of the game as she found a clear passing lane to Tufts sitting at the edge of the crease. Tufts one-timed the pass, tucking the puck into the corner to give Maine a 2-1 advantage in the final three minutes of the game.
With .4 seconds on the clock, the Dutchwomen were given hope to pull off one final shot as a penalty was called on Maine for checking. Haley Shugart managed to get a shot off of the faceoff won by Rachel de Perio, but Brooke Stacey jumped in front of it for the final action of the match as the Black Bears pulled out a 2-1 victory to avoid back-to-back overtime matches.
Francis was pulled from Union’s net with 49 seconds on the clock, but in the 59 minutes she played, the freshman made a respectable 39 saves while her defense assisted blocking an impressive 19 shots. As for Jackson, her defense helped her out with 12 blocks while the sophomore grabbed 18 saves.
The Black Bears will return home after a successful Thanksgiving weekend to host their only home games of December next weekend as they take on the University of Vermont on Saturday and Sunday.