Orono, Me. — It did not matter who scored the goal because in the end, it was the conference points that mattered.
After a three-period defensive stalemate, a Kelly Law overtime goal lifted Maine over Connecticut 1-0 in overtime on Saturday at Alfond Arena in Hockey East play.
With less than three minutes left in overtime, the Black Bears were attempting to engineer a goal deep in the Huskies’ zone. Once the puck got slid to the blue line, Law placed a shot on net that went over the shoulder of UConn netminder Kaitlyn Shain for the goal.
“I think in overtime we wanted to get the puck deep and forecheck as much as possible,” said Maine coach Guy Perron. “We felt that with the number of defensemen they had playing, we felt that they would get tired and we tried to put the puck on net.”
Connecticut (1-2-0, 1-1-0), who dressed just four defensemen on Saturday, falls down the conference standings. The Black Bears (3-2-0, 1-2-0) will look to add two more points during their homecoming weekend as they will face Northeastern on Sunday.
“Every game is a different game and we have great respect for the University of Maine,” said Connecticut coach Heather Linstad. “We always have a great challenge when we come into this building, so one game does not make a season and we had a good win against Providence last week, but we’re trying to win all the games in Hockey East.”
Before the game entered overtime, the final three minutes of the game saw both teams travel down the ice looking to create chances. After the Huskies called a timeout to discuss strategies, they managed to work the puck around but a diving poke check by Maine’s Vanessa Vani temporarily halted UConn’s chance on net.
Once the Black Bears got into the UConn zone, it was the Huskies that provided a defensive spark that almost won the game. As Maine’s Danielle Tangredi had possession, Kristin Russell ripped the puck away leading to a 2-on-1 chance. Russell passed the puck to Britney Chandler only to have Genevieve Turgeon stop the shot.
“It was fortunate thing for us to come back here and have a good start when looking back at what happened last weekend,” Turgeon said. “Towards the end I tried to keep my focus and I feel everyone did a good job of clearing out the rebounds.”
Although the previous 17 minutes did not provide as much as excitement, both teams managed to get some shots on net. The Huskies’ best chance came a little more than three minutes into the period as Russell had a backhand shot that ringed off the crossbar and almost went of Turgeon into the net. However, the freshman whom had 20 saves, turned around in time to cover the puck.
Shain, who was named the Hockey East Defensive Player of the Week on Monday, made 20 saves.
“I think our team learned that we cannot just expect to win the game,” Shain said. “We did not shoot the puck, we did not forecheck. That was not our team out there. We have to take it back to the little things in practice. You have to start being more consistent everyday in practice and not taking things for granted.”