Women’s Preview: UVM @ Maine

Well, that road trip to UNH didn’t work out that great. Now it’s time to take on their archrivals.

The Cats, after starting 2-0, have gone five in a row without a win, but this game is winnable and a win would help get the season back on track.

The Black Bears have started 2-7, including a 5-1 home skunking at the hands of Merrimack. However, one of those wins was a big one that surprised a lot of women’s hockey fans – a 3-2 win over #5 BC on a last-minute goal by Vendula Přibylová. That definitely shows that, while not as strong as some of the other teams UVM has played, Maine is capable of surprises.

In goal, Maine has several options. Last year’s starter, Meghann Treacy, graduated, and so far this season it’s between Treacy’s ex-backup –  senior Mariah Fujimagari – and sophomore Carly Jackson, who didn’t play her freshman year. Though Fujimagari has more collegiate experience, Jackson has been by far the better goalkeeper this year (a .910 SV% compared to Fujimagari’s .822) and has seen the bulk of the work. Expect Jackson in goal at Alfond tomorrow.

The defense  remains relatively unchanged from last year. Ebba Strandberg has gotten off to a solid start in her collegiate career with three points in her first nine games, and is tied with sophomore Alison Matteau for the team lead in points among defenders. Other than the addition of Strandberg, Brittany Kucera, and Brittany Colton, and the loss of Brooklyn Langlois and Kelsey MacSorley, it’s the same group as last year, a group UVM defeated twice and drew once.

The forwards are where Maine has definitely changed. A pair of Czechs have given an international flavor to the Black Bears as well as scoring – Tereza Vanišová and the aformentioned Přibylová are 1-2 on the team in points. They did, however, lose last season’s top scorer Audra Richards to graduation, and she was one of only three Black Bears to hit double figures. The other forward to hit double-digit points last season was Brooke Stacey, who returns. Catherine Tufts and Morgan Sakundiak both return as well and each have potted a trio of goals so far this year. Even with the small sample size, you can tell this is a better offensive team.

After a bit of a slump, this is the perfect chance for the Catamounts to get back in the win column and take some momentum down to Providence next weekend.

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