Great Danes slam door on ‘Cats’ comeback

Bret Belden

After starting the month of April off with a two-game win streak, the Wildcats felt they had finally found their game.

The ‘Cats faced a two-game road trip and an 0-10 record until they battled the University of Vermont to win a tightly contested conference matchup. The ‘Cats mirrored that with a win against UMass Lowell to cap off the road trip with two tallies in the win column.

But a lot can change in two weeks.

After falling last week to UMBC at Wildcat Stadium, UNH dropped another this weekend on Saturday afternoon to the University at Albany, 9-8, to usher in a two-game losing streak following the pair of wins the ‘Cats put together in the games prior.

By the end of the first period on Saturday, Albany found themselves in a battle with UNH. With only four different lead changes in the period, defense became even more vital to both teams’ game plan.

Down 1-0, junior Krissy Schafer and freshman Michele Smith put UNH up 2-1 by 19:26 in the first half. Senior Devon Croke would score the only other UNH goal in the half. Albany’s Sarah Martin and Sam Tortora gave the Great Danes a 4-3 lead going into halftime, and the Wildcats had positioned themselves with a chance to win in the second half.

Schafer and Croke started the second half scoring sequence off on the right track for UNH, each netting a goal to put the ‘Cats ahead 5-4 at 21:04. 

The Great Danes responded with four consecutive goals in a span of roughly 10 minutes to go up 8-5 over the ‘Cats. Albany’s Emma Powlin scored a pair of goals in the process, netting her 20th and 21st goals on the season. Martin netted her second of the game at 11:55 and Kenzie Neal completed the four-goal effort before UNH could respond.

With 6:52 to play in regulation, UNH did just that, and it appeared the ‘Cats were forming a comeback.

Croke initiated the scoring for the ‘Cats by notching her third of the game, cutting the deficit to two at 8-6. At 4:50, senior Marissa Gurello put UNH within one, when she scored her 18th goal.

With 53 seconds remaining in regulation, junior midfielder Carly Wooters scored the equalizer to complete UNH’s comeback with a trio of consecutive goals to tie the game at 8-8.

Unfortunately for the ‘Cats, Albany put to bed any hopes of overtime. With just 18 seconds left, Albany’s Dakotah Savitcheff scored her 31st goal of the season, and more importantly, the game-winning goal for the Great Danes, as they defeated UNH, 9-8.

Saturday’s loss marks UNH’s sixth by three or fewer goals on the season. In a game where both teams locked down on defense, the ‘Cats could not manage to force overtime for a chance to grab their third win of the season.

UNH is now slated at 2-12 on the season with just two games remaining against Binghamton University and Boston University. Both matches will be played in Durham at Wildcat Stadium, with senior day taking place on Saturday, April 22 against Binghamton.