By Greg Laudani, Staff Writer
If shot totals decide who wins, the UNH women’s hockey team would have rolled over Maine. The Wildcats outshot Maine, but the Black Bears shut out UNH by a score of 3-0 on Saturday afternoon at the Whittemore Center.
UNH dominated the game’s scoring chances, finishing with 36 shots compared to 22 for Maine. The Wildcats continuously threw shots at the net, but did not make life difficult for Maine goalie Meghann Treacy. Many of UNH’s shots were aimed right at Treacy’s stomach.
The Wildcats could not generate rebound opportunities on many of their shots. Most of their chances came on one-timers in which Treacy could easily see and glove. UNH winger Cassandra Vilgrain said the team has been focused on trying to generate better types of shots all season.
“I think it’s about the quality of shots we get,” Vilgrain said. “It’s kind of like a theme for us that we need to get harder shots, get them low and get more rebounds.”
UNH’s Jonna Curtis said she was satisfied with her team’s effort and intensity against Maine.
“We got a lot of shots, so that shows we were able to get to the net,” Curtis said. “I think we just need to shoot lower to try to get more rebounds.”
One of UNH’s best chances to finally break through came late in the second period. With fewer than two minutes to play in the frame, winger Kayla Mork carried the puck around the back of the Black Bears’ net. Mork slipped and fell to her knees, but was still able to deliver a centering pass to a streaking Jonna Curtis, whose shot rose just enough for Treacy to grab with her glove.
Vilgrain produced what probably turned out to be the Wildcats’ largest threat. With 7:35 to play in the second period, Vilgrain gathered a loose puck in UNH’s defensive zone and darted up the ice alone on a breakaway. She weaved toward net and tried to reach around the goalie, but Treacy stuck out her leg to make a pad save.
Wildcats head coach Hilary Witt acknowledged that her team could have generated more threatening shots. Witt also made a point to praise Treacy’s ability to deny each of UNH’s 36 opportunities.
“We have to continue to work on not shooting at the goalie’s stomach,” Witt said. “But you have to give their goalie credit because she played really well. We peppered her.”
Witt went on to talk about how the Wildcats’ inability to generate rebounds was not all their fault. She credited Treacy and Maine’s defense for making it tough for UNH’s offense to produce.
“They played tough in front of their net and didn’t give us a ton of chances, so we had to pound pucks on them,” Witt said. “And I thought their goalie played really well and controlled the game. I don’t think this is a knock on our team.”
“We need to do a better job of looking for open spots and shooting the puck hard,” Curtis said. “And with that, I think we’ll do a lot better.”