The women’s hockey team (6-5-2, 5-4-1) split the last weekend with two home games against UVM (5-2-4, 2-2-2). They won Friday’s game 2-1 in overtime and lost Saturday afternoon 1-0. They finished the season series against Vermont 1-1-1. The Wildcats made a lineup change this weekend, moving junior forward Ellie Sasaki to the top line with senior forward Meghara McManus and senior captain, forward Carlee Turner.
The Wildcats opened up the scoring 15:14 into the first period with a powerplay goal from sophomore defensewoman Emily Rickwood, her fourth of the season. She scored off the rebound that bounced to her off a one timer from senior captain, defensewoman Tori Howran, who originally caught a pass from first year forward Tamara Thierus. The shot beat the goalie just over the glove. Rickwood led both teams in shots on goal with five.
Although the second period was scoreless, it was a much quicker period with more pace to the game for both teams. Sophomore goalie Ava Boutilier stopped all eight shots she faced that period but came up with two really big ones late in the period to preserve the lead. She stopped the initial shot with the pad, but the puck started to trickle right in front of her pad towards the goal post. UVM was able to get a second opportunity shot but Boutilier stretched out the pad to prevent the rebound from going in the net. She ended up saving 24 out of 25 shots she faced in the game. UNH head coach Hillary Witt said she was “real good” for the team, coming up with big saves to secure win.
The Catamounts tied the game 6:49 into the third period off a solo effort from senior forward Eve-Audrey Picard. She deked her way into the zone and towards the net then roofed a shot to knot the game up at one. The Wildcats had a big opportunity to break the tie late in the period on a powerplay. There was a large scrum in front of the net and the Wildcats shot across the crease twice, but the puck stayed out of the net. Still tied at the end of regulation, the game was forced into overtime.
The Wildcats scored the overtime winner while on the powerplay. Rickwood sent a pass to Turner who took a shot that deflected off a Vermont defender then again off the shoulder of McManus. The puck arched over the goalie’s head and bounced into the net.
“I just tried to get my net front presence and it happened to hit me and go in. Nice shot by (Turner),” said McManus whose goal gave her the team lead with seven on the season. The referees reviewed the goal, but it held up and the Wildcats won the game.
“I thought we back checked really well. I didn’t think we gave up a lot on the rush,” head coach Hillary Witt said following the game. “For the most part we did fine in zone. I don’t think we gave them a lot of great quality chances, but the one we gave them they took advantage of.”
Saturday’s game was much quieter on the score sheet, but Witt thought the team played a better game. They got off to a solid start creating a few good scoring chances and putting pressure on the puck carrier. The Catamounts scored the only goal of the game late in the second period. There was a lot of traffic out in front of the net, and the shot snuck its way through a small opening into the net.
The Wildcats had an injury scare early in the third when McManus went down hard in the neutral zone and needed to be helped off. Luckily for them she was fine and came back out without missing a shift. She was all over the ice creating several chances with six shots on goal. In addition to her, the second line of first year forward Lauren Martin centering senior forward Nicole Dunbar and senior captain, forward Taylor Wenzcowski provided the team with chances and were hungry for the tying goal. Wenzcowski had a game high seven shots on goal.
“We had plenty of chances, like a lot of chances to score but we just didn’t so that was the difference in the game there,” said coach Witt. “I thought we created more scoring chances today, we had a lot of point-blank chances we just didn’t score. I don’t think we gave up a lot of chances.”
The ‘Cats pulled the goalie for the extra attacker with a one-minute left, but they were unable to score. Boutilier made 20 saves and finished the weekend with a .956 save percent.
The Wildcats will play their next game Friday Nov. 15 at Northeastern with a 6 p.m. puck drop, then play the Huskies again Saturday Nov. 16 at home with puck drop set for 3 p.m.