Quinnipiac completes OT comeback, beats Maine 3-2 in season opener

Ethan Hurwitz, Sports Editor

The Quinnipiac women’s ice hockey team took the ice for a meaningful game for the first time since last year’s postseason heartbreak against Ohio State. Unlike last season’s finish, the No. 8 Bobcats squeaked out a hard-fought 3-2 victory over the Maine Black Bears on Friday. 

The star of the show was Maine junior goaltender Jorden Mattison, who stopped 32 shots in her first start of the season. Although she took the loss, she was the best player on the ice by far. 

After the puck dropped in Alfond Arena, the game seemed to slowly move along, with a couple of icing calls and some errant passes that forced both sides to knock off some offseason rust. 

Senior forward Sadie Peart, coming off a campaign in which she totaled a career-high 33 points, got the Bobcats on the board quickly with a poke in front of the net. The lone first period goal was the only mistake made by Mattison through the first twenty minutes, who showed off her ability to limit rebounds throughout the matchup.  

The first period ended uneventfully, with a cross-checking penalty by Quinnipiac sophomore forward Maya Labad and later, a brief 4-on-4 period after matching minor penalties. 

Maine was able to even the game at one apiece after senior forward Ida Kuoppala shot it glove side and found the back of the net. The unassisted goal was the second straight game in which Kuoppala scored, as she recorded the only goal Maine scored in the season finale against Northeastern back in March. 

With just over three minutes left in the second, two quick penalties by the Bobcats gave the Black Bears a long 5-on-3 powerplay. Immediately after, sophomore forward Mira Seregély made Quinnipiac pay for the costly errors, finding twine and giving Maine a 2-1 advantage. 

As the third period progressed, it was clear the Bobcats were skating circles around Maine, as the visitors maintained the puck for a significant amount of time. Quinnipiac was able to muster 35 total shots on goal for the night, compared to Maine’s 20. However, the costly turnovers were the thorn in the Bobcats’ side, limiting the amount of solid offensive chances. 

Halfway through the third period, graduate student forward Lexia Adzija found herself all alone with nothing but an open net in front. The team captain didn’t miss the chance and the Bobcats evened the game at two goals apiece. 

Solid chances by both Quinnipiac and Maine fell short and the season opener was headed to overtime. Under a minute into the extra frame, both sides were gifted breakaways, but Angers and Mattison stood tall and kept the game alive. 

Following a lengthy official review and some missed chances in the extra period, junior forward Olivia Mobley fired a wrist shot past Mattison and the Bobcats escaped with the overtime victory. The goal was Mobley’s third point of the day, pushing her career total to 45. 

Senior defender Amalie Andersen was a key absence for the Black Bears, as she did not suit up for the game. Andersen, who played at the forward position internationally for Denmark, recorded just three points last season, but is expected to contribute heavily this season.

Quinnipiac moves to 1-0-0 on the young season, the fourth straight year that the Bobcats begin the campaign with the victory. It is also the straight season that Quinnipiac opened its schedule with a victory against the Black Bears. 

The Bobcats will look to build on the season opener and continue their win streak, as the two teams will face off again Saturday at 2 p.m.