Southern Maine Falls to UNE in NEHC Opener

Forward Julia Ormsby
Forward Julia Ormsby

Southern Maine Falls to UNE 2-0

            GORHAM, Maine -- Rookie Marykate Drinkwater (Franklin, Mass.) and junior Annie Mullen (Concord, N.H.) scored their first goals of the season to give the visiting University of New England Nor'easters a 2-0 victory over the University of Southern Maine Huskies in a New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) game Friday at the USM Ice Arena.

            The win was the first of the season for the Nor'easters (1-2-0; 1-0-0) after two non-conference losses.  The Huskies (0-2-0; 0-1-0) dropped their second straight game.  The game was the conference opener for both sides.

            After a scoreless first period, Drinkwater put the visitors on the board at 1:05 of the second period.  Senior Shannon Smith's (Naperville, Ill.) shot was blocked by a USM defender and after a couple of tries, Drinkwater was able to get the puck out of a scramble in front of the net over USM sophomore goalie Britney Evangelista (North Smithfield, R.I.) for her first collegiate goal.  Senior Abby Kinens (Houlton, Maine) also picked up an assist on the play.

            UNE senior goalie Sydney Helmbrecht (Grand Rapids, Mich.) protected the lead as she and Evangelista matched saves through the remainder of the second period and much of the third period until Mullen potted the insurance goal at 15:41.  Mullen took a pass out from behind the net by classmate Melissa Boudreau (Lombard, Ill.) and slipped the puck back inside the left post by Evangelista.

            Helmbrecht finished with 23 saves, including 12 in the final period, to earn her eighth career shutout.  Helmbrecht's best stops in the final period came on a breakaway by sophomore Julia Ormsby (Barre, Vt.) and a 30-foot shot through a screen by senior Katie Couture (Harrisville, R.I.) to preserve the one-goal edge.  Evangelista, who made 11 saves in the first period, finished with 25 saves.

            Southern Maine hits the road for the first time this season traveling to Boston to play the University of Massachusetts Boston tomorrow afternoon (1:00 p.m.).  UNE will play its home opener on Saturday (4:00 p.m.) hosting Franklin Pierce University.  Both games are NEHC contests.