ORONO, Me. — After three tough periods, Connecticut topped Maine 3-2 in overtime for its first win of the season.
The two evenly-matched teams battled at both ends of the ice and Maine outshot UConn 36-30 and looked in control during spurts.
The Huskies improve to 1-4-1 on the season, while Maine falls to 0-3-0.
Maine coach Maria Lewis hopes her team can respond quickly in time for the second game.
“It’s going to test our character [and] we’ll see how we come back tomorrow,” Lewis said. “Hopefully, we can find a way to put more pucks in the net – we need to get better in that area.”
It took just 50 seconds in overtime to find a winner.
Sophomore forward Kayla Campero netted the game-winner for the Huskies after the puck found her stick in front of the Black Bears’ crease.
The goal was reviewed, but eventually upheld.
“I guess they weren’t in position to see it go in,” Maine goalie Meaghann Treacy said. “I honestly don’t know what happened. Tomorrow’s a new day. You just have to go in with that same mindset that you’re going to win.”
The first period set the tone for what would turn out to be a very competitive contest. UConn scored first three minutes in on freshman forward Michela Cava’s wrister from the right slot that beat Treacy. Cava was assisted by freshman forward Brittany Berisoff.
The Black Bears responded five minutes later on a rebound off of senior forward Brittany Dougherty’s wrap-around attempt. Freshman forward Audra Richards picked up the loose puck in front of the UConn crease and beat Huskies’ goaltender Elaine Chuli to make it 1-1. Dougherty was credited with the assist on the play.
UConn dominated the faceoff circle early on, winning 17 of 25 in the opening period. The Huskies finished with a 33-28 advantage in faceoff wins.
Maine dominated possession in the opening 10 minutes of the second period, but was unable to generate any real scoring threats.
A Black Bear penalty at 12:36 killed Maine’s momentum, and another penalty gave UConn a two-skater advantage with 11:55 to go in the period. Maine would kill off the 5-on-3, but the hockey remained up and down for the last half of the second.
“At times, we backed off and played too conservative, and that allowed them to gain some momentum,” Lewis said.
UConn had another chance with 1:49 left in the period when Maine junior forward Missy Denk was sent to the box for checking. It did not prevent the Black Bears from putting another one in the back of the net, however.
Dougherty scored shorthanded 18 seconds into the penalty kill for Maine when she found herself all alone with the puck in the neutral zone. Dougherty deked Chuli to her backhand and flipped the puck top shelf to make it 2-1.
The Huskies responded.
Cava notched her second goal of the game on the power play with 36 seconds left, giving UConn a boost heading into the second intermission.
“When anybody scores shorthanded, it usually sets the team back,” Connecticut coach Heather Linstad said. “Scoring on the power play to even it up helped us maintain our momentum heading into the final period.”
The game got even tighter in the third. Junior goaltender Sarah Moses replaced Chuli to start the period for the Huskies, but neither team was able to find the back of the net.
Maine outshot UConn 16-10 in the third, but Moses kept the Huskies in it long enough to force extra time.
Treacy finished with 27 saves, while Chuli and Moses combined for 34 in the win for Connecticut.
“We needed a win,” said Linstad. “Any win is a good win right now.”
The Black Bears and the Huskies wrap up their two-game set Sunday afternoon.