There is nothing worse than a big-time last-minute goal against. Nothing.
It’s deflating after 59 minutes of hockey, you barely have time to respond, and it just feels like no matter what, whether it be an equalizer or a go-ahead goal, you are destined to lose.
And that’s what happened tonight. SLU grabbed a last-minute game-winner to prevail 3-2 and sweep the Cats in a weekend series.
The Cats took the lead early on a pretty weak goal, if I’ll admit it. Kourtney Menches with a shot from the far side hashmarks, and I have no clue how it went in. Even looking at the replay afterwords. Looks to me like Grace Harrison, SLU’s New Zealander goalie, bobbled it in. Regardless, it was a 1-0 lead.
After an even first period, the second was all SLU, as the Cats only mustered two shots on goal. Despite this, the defense had done well to make all of SLU’s chances low-danger. But make one mistake and they’ll make you pay, as Kennedy Marchment did midway through the period. She intercepted a pass at the blueline, worked her way in on a shorthanded breakaway, and ripped a beauty over the glove of Madi Litchfield to tie the game.
The third was more even, like the second, and the Cats came close after a MacKenzie MacNeil shot hit the post. But it wasn’t to be on this day, and again, make one mistake and the Saints will make you pay. The Cats left Hannah Miller with her own area code of space, and she ripped a winner past Litchfield. 2-1 SLU with 31.9 seconds to go, and despite a late, frantic effort, there was no coming back.
Looking at the stats, you can see one promising sign – the Cats out-shot attempted the Saints 37-35. But if you don’t finish your chances, or even put them on goal, that means nothing.
I thought the offense didn’t look very cohesive for most of the game (passes into the skates, etc), but the defense was solid and Madi Litchfield was excellent.
The Cats now have to regroup with a four-game road swing coming up, with games in Durham and Orono and then a pair down at Providence. These are very winnable conference games that would mean a LOT in the standings.
The Vermont Hockey Blog Three Stars of the Game
- Hannah Miller (SLU) – A clutch, last-minute game winner.
- Kennedy Marchment (SLU) – An absolute snipe shorthanded to tie the game.
- Madison Litchfield (UVM) – 25 saves, including some huge ones.