Women’s Hockey Routs USM in strong performance

On Tuesday, Feb. 3, the University of Southern Maine women’s ice hockey team travelled to Waterville to face the Mules.  Although it was a close game during the first period, Colby pulled away in the second to rout the Huskies 4-0.

The first period had the two squads evenly matched, however the scoring picked up for the Mules in the second.  Forward Delaney Flynn ’17 gave the Mules a quick spark to start the second period, as she gave Colby a 1-0 lead after only 15 seconds of play. Elisa Rascia ’16 and Maddie Dewhirst ’16 assisted on the goal.  Defenseman Jackie Tavella ’15 gave the Mules a 2-0 lead when she scored a powerplay goal midway through the second.  Colby was slowly taking over the game, and the dagger that firmly put Southern Maine away came when Megan Fortier ’16 scored with just under a minute left in the second to send the Mules to the second intermission with a commanding 3-0 lead.

After an insurance goal from Lauren Guarente ’15 halfway through the third period, the Mules breezed to a 4-0 shutout, which improved their record to 11-9 overall.  Despite only posting a 3-9 record in NESCAC play, Colby has a perfect 8-0 record in out of conference play, which has them currently in eighth place in league standings.  On top of that, the Mules have won 11 out of their last 16 games and have already surpassed last year’s win total of 10.

“Following last year’s appearance in the NESCAC semi-finals, we changed our mentality and set out expectations a little higher this year,” said Rascia. “I think that has resulted in the success of our team.”

Last year’s surprise semi-finals team has impacted this year’s squad significantly. “Graduating the class of 2014 changed our team a lot,” commented Rascia. “We lost girls who played a lot of minutes for us, but that allowed other players to step in.” The biggest change for the Mules has been in net as they lost Bri Wheeler ’14 to graduation; freshman Jess Thulin, however has filled in that role seamlessly.  Another goaltender, Angelica Crites ’16, started the game against Southern Maine and stopped 16 shots to record her first career shutout. “Geli had a great night getting the shutout,” Kat Mackey ’16 said. “She did a great job seeing the puck and making the stops she needed to.” Another player that has stepped up has been Katie McLaughlin ’17, who has matured significantly since the previous season and plays with more confidence this year.  The team has also collectively matured as the Mules returned 17 players for this season.

The women’s ice hockey team has already set their sights on the postseason as the regular season is beginning to wrap up.  With just four games left and two NESCAC opponents to go, the Mules hope to finish the season on a strong note to boost their playoff ranking. “We are lower in the standings than we’d like to be,” Mackey said. “Hopefully we can move up with our last couple of games.” The Mules host the Cardinals of Wesleyan University this weekend in their regular season finale at Alfond Rink.

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