Southern Maine Takes NEHC Opener over New England College 3-1

Junior Shannon Colbert scored a goal in USM's win over New England College (file photo by Jason Johns).
Junior Shannon Colbert scored a goal in USM's win over New England College (file photo by Jason Johns).

Southern Maine Take NEHC Opener Over N.E. College 3-1

            GORHAM, Maine -- The University of Southern Maine women's ice hockey team received goals from three different players and senior goalie Whitney Padgett (Eden Prairie, Minn.) turned aside 14 shots as the Huskies defeated visiting New England College, 3-1, in New England Hockey Conference action Friday evening at the USM Ice Arena.

            The win was the first of the season for the Huskies who improved to 1-2 overall.  The Pilgrims dropped their third straight to slide to 0-3.  The game was the NEHC opener for both sides.

            USM grabbed a 1-0 lead midway through the first period as sophomore Julianne Nelson (Armstrong, B.C.) swept in a deflected shots for her first goal in a Husky uniform.  Senior Mikayla Butkus (Essex Jct., Vt./Rice Memorial) had her shot from the left point deflected right on to Nelson's stick at the right post and the transfer from Anna Maria College swept the puck in the open side.  Sophomore Chelsea Skluzacek (Crosslake, Minn.) picked up the secondary assist.

            Sophomore goalie Cianna Weir (Olds, Alberta) kept the Pilgrims close stopping 13 of 14 shots in the period.

            The Huskies doubled their advantage at 8:59 of the middle period when sophomore Emma Mazzariello (Rutland, Vt.) picked the pocket of an NEC defender and flipped a backhand shot over Weir's shoulder.

            Senior Tara Turcotte (Huntington Beach, Calif.) put the Pilgrims on the board at 17:52 of the second period as she and rookie Tatiana Fedeneva (Pervouralsk, Russia) combined to take advantage of the USM defensive zone turnover.  Weir continued her standout play in the net making 19 saves in the period as USM piled up a 20-6 edge in shots on goal.

            In the third period, Weir stymied the Huskies until junior Shannon Colbert (Manomet,  Mass.) intercepted an errant clearing attempt and beat Weir for the insurance marker with 1:58 to play.

            Weir finished the game with 45 saves as the Huskies outshot the Pilgrims 48-15.  Neither side was able to convert on the power play as the Huskies went 0 for 7 while the Pilgrims came up empty on four opportunities.

            Both teams will be back in action tomorrow afternoon.  Southern Maine hosts Plymouth State University starting at 4 p.m.  New England College travels to Salem State University for a 2 p.m. matinee.