O'Brien breaks shutout for Panthers
GORHAM, Maine – Sophomore Chelsea Boucher (Gilford, N.H.) recorded a goal and two assists Friday afternoon to lead the University of Southern Maine women's ice hockey team to a 4-1 victory over Plymouth State University in ECAC Women's East action at the USM Ice Arena.
The win was the second straight to open the season for the Huskies (2-0-0). The Panthers (1-2-0) suffered their second loss in three outings. The game was the conference opener for both teams.
Boucher scored what proved to be the game-winning goal in the latter stages of the second period and picked up assists on two markers early in the third period. Boucher's goal came on a shot from inside the blue line that found its way through a maze of players in front of PSU senior goalie Jennifer Wisniewski (North Ridgeville, Ohio).
Senior Erin Banfield (Montpelier, Vt.) scored the only goal of the first period for the Huskies at 8:11. With USM on the power play, rookie Anne-Marie Provencal's (Skowhegan, Maine) shot from the blue line was blocked in front of the net where Banfield managed to get her stick on it to slip it past Wisniewski. Freshman Ally Vanidestine (Bangor, Maine) picked up the second assist.
Boucher's goal in the second period gave USM a 2-0 lead heading into the third period. Just two seconds after a USM power play had expired, Vanidestine scored her first collegiate goal at 0:59 to make it 3-0. Boucher's shot was blocked in front, but the puck went to Vanidestine who knocked it in.
Less than three minutes later, junior Maggie Lane (Burlington, Mass.) picked up her first goal of the season out of a scramble in front of Wisniewski. Boucher and rookie McKenna Russell (Stoughton, Mass.) picked up the assists.
Plymouth State thwarted USM junior goalie Liz Bergstrom's (Chanhassen, Minn.) bid for a second straight shutout as rookie Sara Huff's (Frisco, Texas) shot from the top of the left wing circle found its way into the top right corner for a 5-on-3 power-play goal. Classmate Haley Branovan (Wexford, Pa.) and senior Jamie O'Brien (Chelmsford, Mass.) collected the assists.
Bergstrom finished the game recording 20 saves. Wisniewski made 14 saves before being lifted after the Lane goal for senior Ali Ponte (Richmond Hill, Ontario). Ponte had five saves over the final 16:15.
The Huskies held a 23-21 edge in shots on goal and converted 2 of 5 power-play opportunities. The Panthers were 1 for 6 with the extra skater.
Southern Maine is back in action next Friday (4:00 p.m.) hosting New England College. Plymouth State will host Castleton State College in its home opener, also on Friday (6:00 p.m.).
(Courtesy of Southern Maine Sports Information)
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