By MARK GARBINO
The Wildcats claimed their first win of the season as they split their two games this weekend against the University of Vermont and Boston University.
UNH topped UVM 4-0 Friday night in Vermont, and were defeated 5-3 by BU Sunday afternoon at the Whitt. The team now holds a 1-8-0 overall record on the season.
Junior left wing Jonna Curtis accumulated four points over the weekend, with one goal and three assists. She now has points in four straight games, and leads the team with six goals and five assists for eleven points in nine games this season.
Senior goaltender Vilma Vaattovaara earned an 18-save shutout, and defenseman Kaylee Forster scored the game-winning goal as the Wildcats beat Vermont.
Just past the halfway point of the second period, Forster fired a shot from the point that found its way through traffic and past the Catamount goalie’s blocker. The goal marked Forster’s first career goal and point.
It was a game of firsts for the Wildcats, as both Carlee Toews and Devan Taylor tallied their first career goals as well.
“It’s great to see different people step up and score,” said Witt. “We need that to be a consistent theme.”
The Wildcats controlled play for the majority of the game, outshooting Vermont 32-18 while not allowing many quality scoring chances.
But the weekend of play caught up to the ‘Cats, and on Sunday, BU’s four unanswered goals led to a stinging loss.
The Wildcats brought their skating game in the first period, and forced BU to take four penalties. They took advantage of their opportunities, and were rewarded with two power play goals.
Coach Witt was satisfied with the play of the power play units, and praised them after the game.
“I thought our power play looked great,” she said. “It’s the best it has looked.”
At 7:12 of the first period with the Wildcats controlling the puck in the BU zone, a desperation play kept a stray pass in at the blue line. Sophomore defenseman Julia Fedeski picked up the puck, skated into the slot, and fired a slap shot that beat the goaltender five-hole to open the scoring.
Later in the period, a rebound off of a UNH shot found its way to Curtis in the left faceoff circle and she ripped a shot that broke through the goalie to make it 2-0.
The Wildcats only took about two minutes to answer after a BU goal early in the second made it 2-1. Defenseman Amy Schlagel received a pass through the neutral zone and rushed the puck into the offensive zone one-on-two against the BU defense. She faked a shot and toe dragged around the left defenseman before lifting a shot top left. The highlight reel goal put the Wildcats up 3-1.
BU pulled within one at 12:37 of the second, when a slap shot beat Vaattovaara over the right pad. UNH held a 29-16 shot advantage through two periods.
The Wildcats were given a golden opportunity to extend their lead early in the third period on a breakaway by Curtis, but she was robbed by the right pad of the BU netminder.
BU pushed back with some chances of their own, and about a minute later tied the game on a wrist shot that found its way through defenseman Jenna Rheault and past Vaattovaara.
Momentum swung in the Terriers’ favor for most of the third period, and they were able to tack on two more goals, giving them a 5-3 lead.
A late push by the Wildcats was not enough and BU skated away with the win. The final shots were 39-31 in favor of UNH.
After averaging only 1.0 goal per game through their first five games, the Wildcats have averaged 3.25 over their past four. The team’s work in practice is starting to translate into the games, according to Curtis.
“We’ve been working in practice on goal scoring, getting to the net, getting more pucks to the net, and crashing the net for rebounds, so I think that is helping a lot,” she said.
The Wildcats are back in action on Saturday when they will head to Rhode Island to face Providence College.
UNH gets first win in weekend split
By MARK GARBINO