GORHAM, Maine -- Sophomore Riley Kirk (West Bath, Maine) scored the only goal of the game midway through the third period, and classmate Whitney Padgett (Eden Prairie, Minn.) stopped 30 shots, as the University of Southern Maine women's ice hockey team shut out visiting Salve Regina University, 1-0, in a New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) game Saturday afternoon at the USM Ice Arena.
The win improved the Huskies' overall record to 2-3-0, and got them back to .500 in the league at 2-2-0. The Seahawks, who broke a four-game losing skid on Friday with a 3-2 win at the University of New England, slip to 1-5-0 overall and 1-3-0 in NEHC games.
After 48 minutes of scoreless hockey, Kirk took a pass from sophomore Katie Nolan (Dorchester, Mass.) at the right point and fired a shot towards a crowd of players in front of SRU junior goalie Jennifer O'Connell (Marston Mills, Mass.). The puck changed direction off a Seahawk player and eluded O'Connell for a power-play goal at 8:14.
Padgett protected the lead over the final 11:46 as the Seahawks pressed for an equalizer. Salve Regina went on the power play with 1:14 to play after pulling O'Connell for the extra skater just moments before, but was unable to put a shot past Padgett. The shutout was the second of Padgett's career.
Salve Regina rolled up a 30-21 edge in shots on goal in the game, including a 12-5 margin in the second period, but was unable to convert on any of its seven power plays. Southern Maine went 1 for 7 with the extra skater. O'Connell registered 20 saves before heading to the bench with 1:20 to play.
Southern Maine hits the road next weekend to play at nationally-ranked Norwich University on Friday (4:00 p.m.) and Castleton University on Saturday (1:00 p.m.). Salve Regina will be at home next weekend hosting New England College on Friday (7:00 p.m.) and Plymouth State University on Saturday (2:00 p.m.). All four games are NEHC games.