Hockey: McGill Defeats UVM Women 2-1 in Exhibition Opener

Courtesy Vermont Sports Information

BURLINGTON – Olivia Atkinson scored the game-winning goal with 22 seconds left in the second period as McGill defeated Vermont 2-1 in the Catamounts season opening exhibition tilt at Gutterson Fieldhouse Sunday afternoon.

The Martlets tested the Catamounts early in the first period after earning a two-minute five-on-three opportunity. Junior goaltender Madison Litchfield made two saves on the McGill power play to keep the game scoreless.

After a scoreless first frame the Catamounts came out firing in the second, tallying six shots in the first four minutes of the period. Vermont capitalized on one of its early opportunities. Alyssa Gorecki corralled a pass from Kourtney Menches behind the net before cutting to the crease and jamming the puck past McGill’s Brittany Smrke for her first goal as a Catamount.

The Martlets captain Melodie Daoust answered back with an even strength tally at the 6:32 mark of the second period. On a two-on-two rush Daoust slipped just ahead of a Vermont defender and was able to fire a quick shot past Litchfield after receiving a pass from Atkinson. Alison MacKenzie was credited with the secondary assist on Daoust’s first goal of the season.

Just past the midway mark of the second period the Catamounts made a pre-planned goaltending switch. Sophomore Molly Depew came in for Litchfield who finished the afternoon with 12 saves.

In the final minute of the second period the Martlets took the lead for good on the power play. Emily Davies fired a point shot that Atkinson was able to redirect past a screened Depew to push McGill ahead with 22 seconds left in the second.

Vermont was able to get seven shots on goal in the third period but they couldn’t equalize. McGill’s goaltender Smrke was injured with 9:23 left in the third period and sophomore Kayla Lonberg came in and saw her first collegiate action. Lonberg was credited with two saves as the Martlets protected their one-goal lead.

“I’m pleased with our first competitive outing and it was a game that could have gone either way,” said head coach Jim Plumer. “We played hard and with a lot of speed and it was great to see the development of so many players from last season. It was exactly what we needed to get some experience under our belts and get ready for the regular season.”

Vermont opens the regular season Friday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. as they host No. 9 Bemidji State in the first game of a two-game series at Gutterson Fieldhouse.

NOTES: Alyssa Gorecki led all Catamounts with four shots … Casey Leveillee won seven of nine faceoffs she took, she was the only player on either team to win over 60% … Vermont is now 1-6-1 all-time against the Martlets.

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