ORONO, Me. — Providence got by Maine 4-3 Friday afternoon in a highly-competitive Hockey East showdown at Alfond Arena.
The Black Bears’ record dips to 1-6-0 overall and 1-4-0 in Hockey East, while Providence improves to 5-3-1 on the year and a perfect 3-0-0 in conference.
UMaine was outshot 41-19, but looked in control throughout and dominated puck possession in spurts.
Head coach Maria Lewis liked what she saw from her team in the loss and looks forward to the second game of this weekend series.
“Providence is a very big team and they’re tough to play against,” she said. “But I think we did a good job overall and I thought we had an opportunity to win this one.
“I’m looking forward to playing them tomorrow and getting another crack at them.”
A Black Bear turnover in their defensive zone led to the first goal of the contest. Providence sophomore forward Haley Frade picked up the loose puck in the UMaine zone and fed freshman forward Molly Illikainen, who broke the 0-0 tie two minutes in.
The teams played four-on-four after offsetting holding penalties were called around the 12-minute mark.
The Friars took advantage, stretching their lead on a bouncing puck that squeezed by UMaine senior goaltender Brittany Ott with 10 minutes left in the period. The goal was credited to freshman defender Lexi Slattery, with sophomore forward Allison Micheletti and senior forward Jessica Vella picking up assists on the play.
Ott finished with 37 saves in the loss, while freshman goaltender Sarah Bryant had 16 for the Friars.
UMaine junior forward Brianne Kilgour had to be helped off the ice a few minutes later after getting entangled with a Providence player near the boards. Kilgour did not return and her status is uncertain for Saturday’s game.
Lewis recognizes the impact Kilgour’s absence could have in game two.
“I think it does make a big impact,” she said. “We’ll find a way. We’re a resilient bunch and kids need to step up and back each other up. Somebody is just going to have to step in there and help out.”
The Black Bears pulled to within one on a power-play goal 30 seconds later after junior forward Missy Denk found freshman forward Audra Richards in front. Dougherty also earned an assist on Richards’ goal that made it 2-1 heading into the first intermission.
The game opened up in the second period.
A breakaway with just under eight minutes left in the frame tied the game up at two. UMaine sophomore forward Tori Pasquariello took a feed from fellow sophomore forward Katy Massey and flipped a shot top shelf that beat Bryant to make it 2-2.
The Friars would go up again after a Black Bear turnover led to Micheletti’s unassisted goal with five minutes left in the period. The score remained 3-2 heading into the third.
The Black Bears continued to get the better chances in the final phase despite being outshot heavily by the Friars, but could not capitalize.
Providence extended their lead to 4-2 7:30 into the period. Frade’s power-play goal came off of assists by Illikainen and freshmen defender Lexi Romanchuk.
The Black Bears went on the power play with just under seven minutes left.
UMaine wasted no time with the extra skater, pulling within one once again on a deflection in front of the Providence crease. Richards was credited with her second goal of the game after a shot from the point glanced off a Friars defender before finally finding the back of the cage. Dougherty earned an assist on the play.
Providence clamped down in the final moments to secure the 4-3 victory.
“What didn’t go well was us just kind of panicking and rimming the pucks,” Lewis said. “[We have] got to stop the rims and we have to go harder at their net and we have to get more pucks on net and find a way to score the ugly goals.”