After four attempts, the UNH women’s hockey team is still searching for its first win of the season.
The Wildcats could only find the back of the net once in a two game weekend. They dropped the first game 5-1 against No. 10 Boston Univeristy at Walter Brown Arena in Boston, and the second game was a 3-0 decision in favor of No. 3 ranked Quinnipiac University. Carlee Toews was the lone goal-scorer for the Wildcats during the two-game stint. UNH remains winless at 0-4 on the season.
Although the ‘Cats played some tough competition over the weekend, the inability to finish on quality scoring chances has been a recurring theme thus far in the season. UNH recorded 33 shots over the weekend, only being able to cash in on one of them.
“I think the players are frustrated and clearly we’re frustrated,” head coach Hilary Witt said. “We’re thinking pass and by the time we’re thinking to shoot, the defenseman stick is there. So we need kids to be a little more selfish with the puck.”
Toews scored her first goal of the season Friday night vs. BU when she took a blast and connected on goalkeeper Erin O’Neil making the score 1-1 at 16:07 in the first period.
The Terriers stayed on the attack however, as 28 shots led to four unanswered goals on UNH goalkeeper Kyra Smith, including one on the power play from Samantha Sutherland. The offensive pressure was too much for the Wildcats to come back from, as the Terriers bested the Wildcats 5-1 at home.
UNH returned home to the Whittemore Center the following day, to take on the Quinnipiac Bobcats for the finale of a two-game weekend. The Wildcats bolstered a much better defensive performance than the previous matchup. They held a top-ranked team in the country to zero goals offensively through two periods of play. Goaltender Hillary Cashin blanked the Bobcats during the time frame with 16 saves.
“We did a good job getting sticks in lanes and hustling and when somebody makes a mistake somebody else makes up for it,” Witt said. “We got to learn to bear down in [tight game] situations and that’s killing us right now.”
With a couples minutes left to play in the third period, the Wildcats were down 1-0 from a goal off the stick of Megan Turner 47 seconds after the opening faceoff. Witt elected not to use her time out and to let play continue. Minutes later, Emma Woods and Kenzie Prater potted two quick late period goals to seal the 3-0 victory for the Bobcats, improving their overall record to 4-0, while handing UNH its fourth consecutive loss.
One thing that coach Witt addresses is confidence, and that the confidence that the Bobcats play with is something the Wildcats can take as a learning experience.
“If you look at Quinnipiac’s first goal, that shot that kid took, she took it with confidence,” Witt said. “She went short side off the post in a two-on-one situation. That’s a goal-scorer, that’s a kid who’s not afraid to shoot.”
The Wildcats are back in action on Friday, Oct. 14 when they take on Hockey East foe Boston College at the Whittemore Center at 7 p.m.