ORONO, Me. — If captains lead by example, then Cheryl White put on a clinic.
The Maine senior scored two goals as the Black Bears routed Vermont 7-0 on Saturday afternoon at Alfond Arena in Hockey East play.
“As for tomorrow goes, we have to do the same thing as we did today,” White said. “We know they are going to be a better team so we have to do things like score early and take the wind out of their sails.”
Maine (14-6-6, 6-6-4 Hockey East) climbed within two points of the final playoff spot held by UConn. Vermont (3-23-2, 1-13-1) fell deeper into last place.
The Black Bears’ offensive barrage started more than three minutes into the first period as a shot by Julie Poulin beat Catamount goalie Jenilee Roy for a 1-0 lead. A few minutes later, White followed up her housemates’ goal with one of her own
to extend the lead to 2-0.
Less than a minute later, the Black Bears were threatening in the Vermont zone when they created another scoring chance. With reigning conference player of the week Brigitte LaFlamme behind the net, the forward fed the pass to freshman Patricia Gagnon for the 3-0 lead.
“Maine came out with great energy and for us to go down early, really hurt us,” said Vermont coach Dennis Miller. “We did not execute the way we wanted to but we did have some good spurts in the second and third period.”
In the second period, the teams exchanged power play opportunities for the opening four minutes of the frame. Vermont’s best opportunity to score came when on a five-on-three opportunity. Although the chance lasted for 1:08, the Catamounts did not muster a shot.
After both teams were finished swapping special team situations, the Black Bears broke an 16-minute scoring deadlock in the period. As Maine was making their way up the vice, forward Vanessa Vani who had three assists, was deep in the Catamount zone when she fed a pass to White who scored her second goal of the game.
The final goal of the period came with less than two minutes left.
With a face-off to the left of Roy, Maine’s Amy Quirion won the draw as the puck made its way to Kim Meagher. Meagher, who transferred from Boston College this year, threw a shot on net that hit the inside of the post to increase the lead to 5-0.
“I thought we were first on the puck and we kind of played with the score,” said Maine coach Guy Perron. “The puck went in for us and the next thing you know, you are up three goals.”
Maine struck again in the third period off the power play. As Vani had possession, she sent the puck to Kelly Law. Law, who hesitated with her shot put the puck on net to beat replacement goalie Katie Nichols for the 6-0 lead with less than ten
minutes in the frame.
The Black Bears scored one more time as Quirion scored her fourth goal of the season with 90 seconds left.
The teams rematch Sunday at noon.
“I think we need to have more energy and more chemistry,” Roy said. “So tomorrow we can have better passes and play better defense.”