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rono, Maine - It took a dramatic shootout goal by Elyce Thomas (Port Coquitlam, British Columbia), but the University of Maine women's ice hockey team tied Northeastern 2-2 and picked up an extra point in Hockey East with the shootout victory. The Black Bears improve to 5-19-3 overall and 3-11-1 in conference play, picking up four points over the weekend. The Huskies' lead on the final playoff spot shrunk to four points as they drop to 10-13-3 on the season and 5-9-1 in Hockey East. Maine was led by goaltender Genevieve Turgeon (Lac Beauport, Quebec) who stopped 37 shots and made three incredible saves in the shootout.
Hockey East's Skating Strides Against Breast Cancer is in its third year raising money and awareness in the fight against breast cancer with proceeds and donations benefiting the Susan G. Komen foundation. During the game players wore silver and pink jerseys and coaches dressed with pink apparel to show their support.
The Black Bears exploded onto the ice with a goal just 20 seconds into the game when Jennie Gallo (Castlegar, British Columbia) shocked net minder Leah Sulyma for her team-leading 11th goal of the season. Myriam Croussette (Baie-Comeau, Quebec) and Vanessa Vani (St. Catharines, Ontario) set up the lightning quick score.
Northeastern evened it up with 5:12 left in the first period when Katy Applin intercepted a pass in neutral ice, carrying it into the Maine zone to beat Turgeon for the score. The goal was Applin's third of the season.
To resume the lead the Black Bears intercepted a pass of their own early in the second period. Dawn Sullivan's (Enfield, Nova Scotia) skate deflected the Huskie pass to Vani who skated into the Northeastern zone to the goalie's left. As Vani approached the net she spotted a teammate streaking down the other side looking to score. Vani angled her body, faked the pass and then went top shelf on the surprised goalie for her sixth score of the season at 5:23 into the second.
The Huskies evened the game once more on a power play goal by Lindsay Berman in which Turgeon found her vision completely screened, allowing Berman to sneak the puck in to Turgeon's right. Stephanie Gavronsky assisted on Berman's fourth goal of the season.
After a scoreless overtime, Maine found themselves in a heated shootout with a two-point swing in the Hockey East standings to the victor. Northeastern led with Kristi Kehoe whose shot was nabbed with Turgeon's glove. The Black Bears' Croussette went next, putting a vicious fake on Sulyma only to have the puck hit the post and bounce wide. Both Ali Bielawski and Jenna Ouellette (Winnipeg, Manitoba) were stuffed, setting up a incredible final round.
The Huskies' Alyssa Wohlfeiler carried the puck into the zone, got Turgeon to bite on a fake to the left and brought the puck back to the right for what looked to be a sure-fire goal. Turgeon kicked out her left leg and barely stone walled Wohlfieler's shot to save the game. With the pressure on Thomas took the ice for Maine and skated toward the Northeastern net. As Thomas approached she gathered the puck and rocketed a shot at Sulyma's five-hole, squeaking through her closing legs and into the net to turn the Black Bears playoff dreams into a definate possibility.
Turgeon's play in net gave Maine every opportunity to stay in the game, making 37 saves and stopping all three shootout shots to move to 4-18-2 this season. The Huskies' Sulyma saved 20 shots, but dropped to 6-6-2. The Black Bears were outshot 39-22 in the contest.
The University of Maine women's ice hockey team looks to move up in the standings as they travel to Boston College next weekend for a two game series with the Eagles starting on Saturday, Feb. 7, at 1 p.m.