UNION COLLEGE – First-year forward Riley Walsh made an impressive debut for the Union College women’s hockey team on Friday night.
Walsh scored twice, both on special teams, as the Dutchwomen held on for a 3-2 non-conference victory over New Hampshire in the season-opening game for both teams at Whittemore Center in Durham, New Hampshire.
It’s the first-ever victory for the Dutchwomen over the Wildcats in six tries. New Hampshire swept last season’s two-game series at Messa Rink Nov. 26-27, winning by scores of 7-0 and 4-1.
It’s the second straight season that Union has won its season opener. The Dutchwomen beat RIT 7-4.
Walsh scored on the power play just under nine minutes into the first period to give the Dutchwomen a 1-0 lead. The Wildcats tied it late in the first on a Gabby Jones power-play goal.
Walsh struck again, this time shorthanded. She scored on a breakaway at 6:24 of the second period to make it 2-1 Union. Dutchwomen captain Emily King made it a two-goal lead 1:14 later.
“[Walsh] was fantastic today,” Union head coach Josh Sciba said in a telephone interview. “Scoring a big power-play goal to get a score, and then scoring that PK goal on the breakaway was fantastic. She competes extremely hard, and she just did what she did best tonight. She was tenacious, she was hungry and you can see that kind of all over the place. She was awesome.”
Kyla Bent pulled New Hampshire to within a goal with the team’s second power-play goal of the game nearly 6 1-2 minutes into the third period. After that goal, the Wildcats carried the play for most of the period.
The Wildcats pulled goalie Ava Boutilier with 1:41 left. About 40 seconds later, the Wildcats’ Kria Juodikis and Emily Rockwood had great chances to tie the score. But Union goalie Sophie Matsoukas stopped them both. New Hampshire didn’t get another great chance after that.
Matsoukas had 33 saves.
“I thought she did a good job of managing the game,” Sciba said. “She really swallowed up a lot of pucks down low. Give credit to UNH, they brought the noise in third period and I thought we held on. But I think we’ll anticipate a game [today] very similar to what we saw in the third period from them.”
The Dutchwomen and Wildcats meet again at 3 p.m. Saturday.
- Union 1 2 0 — 3
- New Hampshire 1 0 1 — 2
- First Period — 1, Union, Walsh 1 (Quan, King), 8:56 (pp). 2, New Hampshire, G. Jones 1 (Pinto), 19:25 (pp). Penalties — Kelly, UNH (roughing), 7:30; Martin, UNH (interference), 14:17; King, Uni (tripping), 18:17.
- Second Period — 3, Union, Walsh 2, 6:24 (sh). 4, Union, King 1, 7:38. Penalties — King, Uni (hooking), 5:23; Martin, UNH (tripping), 18:44; G. Jones, UNH (cross-checking), 19:14.
- Third Period — 5, New Hampshire, Bent 1 (Berry, Brooks), 2:29 (pp). Penalties — Adams, Uni (slashing), 2:10; Hebert, Uni (interference), 7:55; Friday, Uni (interference), 11:32; Legros, UNH (interference), 13:16.
- Shots on Goal — Union 10-16-9 — 35. New Hampshire 7-14-14 — 35.
- Power-play opportunities — Union 1 of 7; New Hampshire 2 of 5.
- Goalies — Union, Matsoukas 1-0-0 (35 shots-33 saves). New Hampshire, Boutilier 0-1-0 (35-32).
- A — 530.
- Referees — Cameron Lynch, Steven Saul. Linesmen — Stacey MacKinnon, Crystalle Parent.