By MARK GARBINO
The Wildcats are now winless through seven games, after dropping two games at No. 4 Clarkson University over the weekend. Both games were close, two-goal affairs, with the Golden Knights winning by scores of 4-2 and 6-4, respectively.
Junior forward Jonna Curtis was the team’s top scorer on the weekend, accumulating three goals and an assist for four points. This kind of production comes as no surprise to head coach Hilary Witt.
“[Curtis] did what we are used to seeing Jonna do,” she said. “She used her speed, hands, and instincts to make plays. I am really happy about her weekend.”
Curtis now leads the team with five goals and seven points.
Just 3:27 into Friday afternoon’s game, team captain Sara Carlson opened the scoring with an impressive individual effort. Carlson rushed down the left sideboards, faked a slapshot to freeze the defense, used her speed around the outside, and slipped a backhand shot by the goaltender. The gem marked Carlson’s first goal of the season.
The Wildcats were unable to extend their lead, and the Golden Knights put together four straight goals. A goal by Curtis midway through the third period was not enough to bolster a comeback, and UNH fell 4-2.
UNH goaltender Vilma Vaattovaara stopped 30 of 34 shots in the game.
Saturday afternoon saw a much more back-and-forth game. Clarkson scored the game’s first two goals, and held a 2-0 lead just over nine minutes into the contest.
Following these goals, the teams continually answered each other’s goals. Curtis put the Wildcats on the board with a one-timer from the slot to cut the deficit to 2-1 with 6 minutes remaining in the first period.
An early second period goal by Clarkson made it a 3-1 game, but freshman defenseman Jenna Rheault scored her first career goal on a slapshot from the point to pull the team within one.
Clarkson responded with another goal just 66 seconds later on a power play to regain their two-goal lead.
At 17:39 of the second period, Curtis showed off her immense skill once again. She carried the puck through the neutral zone with blistering speed, guarded the puck from a defenseman, and pulled a backhander around the goalie to shrink the Clarkson lead to 4-3.
Clarkson once again pulled ahead by two with 9 minutes to go in the game, holding a 5-3 lead. A late goal by Amy Schlagel made it interesting, but an empty netter sealed the game for the Golden Knights.
The Wildcats pulled within one goal on four separate occasions, but could not manage to get the equalizer each time.
Despite not getting the results they had hoped for, playing two tight games against a top team will provide plenty of confidence for the Wildcats moving forward.
“We are proving to ourselves every day that we can play with teams like Clarkson,” said Witt. “We are confident, and I believe our hard work is paying off and will soon turn into wins.”
The Wildcats will continue to search for that elusive first win on Friday when they head to Vermont to take on the University of Vermont Catamounts.
Wildcats lose a pair at No. 4 Clarkson
By MARK GARBINO