ORONO, Me. — The outcome was somewhat different but Cheryl White’s scoring was not.
The senior scored two goals Maine defeated Vermont 3-0 on Sunday afternoon at the Alfond Arena in Hockey East play. Maine (15-6-6, 7-6-4 Hockey East) won Saturday’s game by a wider 7-0 margin, but White was consistent with her second two-goal game in a row.
“Consistency has been our biggest problem the entire year,” White said. “We have to keep our focus and we are really good at home but our next game is on the road and so are the playoffs.
“We have to take the same focus we approach the game with at home on the road as well.”
Maine’s successful weekend forced a tie with UConn for the fourth and final league playoff spot. The Catamounts (3-24-2, 1-14-1) maintained their position in last place.
Similar to Saturday’s game, the Black Bears used early offensive opportunities to set the tone. A little more than 12 minutes into the game, freshman forward Vanessa Vani was skating towards the net when she left a backhanded pass for White to give Maine the 1-0 lead.
Before closing the period, Brigitte LaFlamme followed Vani’s lead in setting up goals around the net. The reigning conference player of the week played a pass from behind the net to Sonia Corriveau, who scored to give Maine the 2-0 lead.
“We knew we would come out with a lot more intensity and all we talked about last night was the fact we knew we would be better today,” said Vermont coach Dennis Miller. “I thought we competed well and worked hard in all three zones.”
“As for next weekend we want to be more creative by putting the pucks on net.”
The second period saw no offensive input but quite a bit of physical play. With an opening period that consisted of no penalties, the teams combined for 10 minutes, four of them belong to Vani.
In the final period, the Black Bears outshot the Catamounts 15-4, but there was no shot more important than White’s goal. The goal came when Vani, who had five assists on the weekend, played the puck to White. From there a streaking White made her way around a Vermont defender and shifted her body to put a shot on net and give Maine a 3-0 lead.
In facing only 17 shots on goal, Maine netminder Genevieve Turgeon picked up her fourth shutout of the season. Oddly enough, the last time she notched a shutout came against Vermont when she once again made 17 saves.
“Its very rewarding that we have a chance to still be in the top four and be in the playoffs because when you start the season, that is what you want,” said Maine coach Guy Perron. “Overall, the reward is to get into the playoffs and then we will see.
“We still have a long way to go because we have a tough schedule at the end.”