BIDDEFORD— The University of New England women’s hockey team tied the University of Southern Maine 1-1 in a hardfought battle at the Harold Alfond Forum Friday afternoon.

UNE’s Taylor Fowler scored the Nor’easters’ lone goal, while goaltender Sydney Helmbrecht recorded 26 saves. UNE outshot USM 32-27.

USM’s goal was scored by Ally Vanidestine, and goalie Britney Evangelista made 31 saves.

UNE began the game aggressive in the first period. Although each team was able to possess the puck, the Nor’easters had more success applying pressure.

There were many scoring opportunities early on, including an early breakaway by UNE senior Marissa Clifford-Biederman.

With 10:34 remaining in the first period, Annie Mullen tapped a bounce pass from behind the net to Fowler who launched it to the top right of the net, putting UNE up 1-0.

USM fought back hard in the second as momentum swung their way.

The Huskies found their offensive rhythm and began dominating the game in UNE’s zone for much of the second.

USM had multiple scoring opportunities, including a nice shot following an impressive deke from junior Lynn Kozlowski. Later, junior captain McKenna Russell made a nice steal and had a clear lane but also had her shot saved.

It was not until the six-minute mark when Olivia Barragree stole the puck and sent a pass across the net to Vanidestine who fired it in the goal, tying the score 1-1 heading into the final period.

The neck-and-neck contest continued throughout the third, despite each team have many scoring chances, neither was able to secure a true advantage.

USM freshman Tawni Mohler took an impressive shot off of a spin move with four minutes remaining, then a minute later UNE freshman Julianne Sheehan had a chance off of a steal but failed to score.

Helmbrecht came up big for UNE in overtime. Much of the five-minute period was spent pressuring the goalie, who was a stone wall throughout.

Perhaps the play of the game came with 1:20 remaining in overtime, when an awkward line change led to a two-player breakaway for USM that led to a great split save by Helmbrecht, securing the tie.

UNE coach David Venditti felt that his team could have been a bit more consistent.

“I thought there were times where we played very well, sometimes we had some inconsistency. We were trying to figure out how we would play them, but our ultimate goal was to play the way we wanted and make them have to play that way. But they’re a good team, I thought we chased them at times,” said Venditti.

Venditti saw a lot of good play, especially from Helmbrecht.

“She’s a strong goalie. She played really well along with the rest of the girls. I was really happy with the performance tonight and this is something I hope we can build on,” said Venditti.

Another strength of UNE was their penalty kill. The Nor’easters were shorthanded four times, but did not allow a single goal.

“Our penalty killers did a good job tonight. They played hard and they played smart. They created some havoc and really make it tough for them to get off a good shot,” said Venditti.

Venditti would have liked to pick up the win, however, he was not at all disappointed in his team’s performance.

“We want to play fundamentally well and simple, and I think we are there. We played a good team tonight, but overall I thought we did a lot of good things,” said Venditti.

The tie puts UNE at 1-3-1 on the season.

— Sports Staff Writer Alex Sponseller can be reached at [email protected] or at 282-1535 ext. 323. Follow the Journal Tribune Sports Department on Twitter @JournalTsports.

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