On a weekend when the UNH Wildcats’ women’s ice hockey team entered unchartered waters with a two-game road trip to Colgate University, the team was looking to start the season with a bang.
The Raiders managed to keep the ‘Cats quiet all weekend long however, winning both games in front of their home crowd by scores of 4-2 on Saturday and 3-1 on Sunday.
“I thought we played well,” head coach Hillary Witt said following Sunday’s loss. “We out-chanced Colgate today. We’ve just got to put the puck in the net. Especially for a team that consistently played six or seven freshmen, I thought we did a good job.”
In Saturday’s meeting, it was Kyra Smith who led the Wildcats in net. While Smith was able to make a career-best 38 saves on Saturday, it was not enough to stop the Raiders from attacking the goal throughout the contest.
UNH threatened to take game one in the third period, thanks in part to junior defensemen Julia Fedeski.
Fedeski found the back of the net at 8:11 of the second period for her first goal, then once again in the third period on a power-play goal that put UNH up 2-0 at 3:42.
Colgate matched Fedeski’s showing shortly after. At the 6:22 mark of the third period, Annika Zalewski cut the Raiders’ deficit to one. Less than two minutes later, Anonda Hoppner tied up the game at 8:01, and Colgate did not look back.
The Raiders put up another pair of goals from Cat Quirion at 13:31 and Megan Sullivan at 18:23 to cap off the win.
“I thought we played pretty good, the first two periods especially,” Witt said following Saturday’s loss. “We got ourselves a lead, and unfortunately we didn’t keep that. I thought overall, we played pretty good.”
Sunday’s game featured a rematch between the Raiders and the ‘Cats. Witt went with Hilary Cashin in net for the finale of the two-game series, facing 35 shots with three goals allowed.
Instead of UNH getting off on the right start in Sunday’s game, it was Colgate who came out with two unanswered goals to start the scoring off.
Colgate’s Breanne Wilson-Bennett got the Raiders on the board first 3:36 into the second period, followed by another goal from Jessie Eldridge at 7:54 in the third frame to put her team up 2-0.
UNH’s Taylor Wenczkowski got the ‘Cats on the board at 11:38 in the third, but it was not enough to lift the team past the Raiders.
The Raiders’ Shelby Perry solidified the sweep with a goal at 12:24 in the third by putting the Raiders up 3-1, which stood as the game’s final score.
UNH managed to get a look at both of its top goaltenders, and in defeat, Witt was proud of their respective performances.
“They were both pretty good,” Witt said. “I think we need to be a little bit better there, but they both gave us a chance to win the games. That’s really all we can ask. I think both of them will compete for the rest of the season.”
Now the Wildcats will focus their attention to Boston University when they travel to Boston on Friday, Oct. 7. They’ll return home Saturday, Oct. 8 to host Quinnipiac University.
“We’ve got to get more confident,” Witt said. “We have to finish, and I think we play hard and our effort is there. We’ve just got to finish. We’ve got to play with more confidence to finish games off.”