ORONO, Maine — After skating to a scoreless tie through the first 40 minutes, Union College sophomore defender Kelly McGrath scored the game-winner with just over six minutes remaining to cap a wild third period and seal the Dutchwomen’s 3-2 win over the Maine Black Bears Saturday afternoon.
Union’s fifth victory matches their entire win total from last season, upping their record to 5-9-3 as they head into winter break.
Maine suffers the weekend sweep despite outshooting the Dutchwomen, 32-15, in the second game and 72-34 overall in the two-game series. The Black Bears’ seventh straight loss drops their record to 2-14-1 as they head into the holidays.
“It was a great win on a very tough road trip,” Union coach Claudia Barcomb said after the game. “It came down to the final period, the last 20 minutes, and it turned into a huge 20 minutes for us.”
The game remained scoreless until a back-and-forth final period, when the two squads combined to score five goals.
Union broke the scoring drought just 27 seconds into the third on an odd goal that bounced in off Maine freshman goaltender Meghann Treacy’s pad. Sophomore forward Christine Valente was credited with her team-leading fifth goal of the season on the unassisted tally.
Union extended their lead to two with nine minutes gone in the frame on senior forward Nicole Bartlett’s second goal of the weekend. The play went under review, but was eventually upheld, preserving the Dutchwomen’s 2-0 advantage on the scoreboard. Bartlett was assisted by sophomore defender Alex Tancrell-Fontaine and freshman forward Rebecca Babiak.
Lewis pulled Treacy with 11 minutes to play in favor of senior goaltender Brittany Ott, who took the loss Friday night. Treacy finished with 12 saves on 14 shots, while Ott allowed one goal in her 7:40 of ice time.
Ott was pulled in favor of a sixth skater throughout the back half of the third, and it paid off. Senior forward Brittany Dougherty scored her first goal of the game on a lofted puck that Union sophomore goaltender Shenae Lundberg seemed to lose track of as it flew by. Dougherty’s seventh goal of the season was assisted by sophomore forward Tori Pasquariello to cut the lead to one.
Lundberg saved 30 of the 32 shots she faced to add to her solid outing from the night before. The sophomore stopped 67-of-72 shots she faced in the weekend series against the Black Bears.
“You can’t ask for much more out of her in net; it was very impressive,” Barcomb said of her second year netminder. “She was a game-changer this weekend for sure.”
The Dutchwomen capitalized four seconds into a four-on-four on McGrath’s eventual game-winner that came off a faceoff in the Maine zone. McGrath’s first career goal was assisted by freshman forward Courtney Turner, giving Union a 3-1 lead with six minutes left in regulation.
Dougherty pulled Maine within one once again on a beautiful power-play goal that made it 3-2, but it was ultimately not enough. Senior defender Chloe Tinkler and freshman forward Audra Richards were given assists on Dougherty’s team-leading eighth goal of the season.
The 3-2 score marks the sixth straight game between Maine and Union that has been decided by a goal or less. The Black Bears still lead the all-time series, 6-3-3, despite the weekend sweep, but coach Lewis and company must now put this weekend behind them as they head into winter break.
“[These next few weeks] will be about cleansing our minds and heads and taking a break and coming back fresh,” she said. “We need to continue to build off playing as a team, relax, and do what we’re capable of doing and play with confidence. Eventually, something has to work out when you’re playing this well.”