AUBURN — The star attraction of the Providence College and University of Maine women’s hockey game made her presence felt Saturday night.

Lewiston’s Lauren DeBlois scored a goal for the Friars in a 5-4 shootout win over the Black Bears in a Hockey East matchup.

Providence’s Lauren DeBlois — a Lewiston native — controls the puck during Saturday’s game against University of Maine in Auburn at Norway Savings Bank Arena. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

DeBlois said scoring was special to do in front of a packed crowd in rink one at Norway Savings Bank Arena.

“It being my senior year, being in front of friends and family that don’t usually get to see me too often,” DeBlois said. “Just to score in front of them felt pretty good.”

The Friars won the shootout 2-1. The shootout is for Hockey East standings purposes only. Providence (18-8-4 overall, 13-6-4 in Hockey East) is third in the conference, while Maine (12-14-2 overall, 9-10-2 in Hockey East) sits in seventh. In the NCAA record book, the game goes in as a 4-4 tie, with the shootout not counted.

Providence coach Matt Kelly said earning points is the key with the regular season winding down.


“You have to acquire as much as you can, and having a weekend where we get five of six points, it’s almost perfect. I am excited about that, getting the extra point.”

Providence beat University of New Hampshire 7-4 on Friday.

The Black Bears were coming off a 5-4 overtime victory against University of Connecticut on Friday at Alfond Arena in Orono.

Maine coach Molly Engstrom said she was pleased with how the Black Bears battled, being up a couple of goals early in the game but only being up by one goal at the end of the second period and down a goal in the third period, then tying the game up to force overtime.

“It was a good battle for our ladies,” Engstrom said. “At one point, we are up by two and we let that (lead) slip with under a second to go (in the second). Those are learning lessons and we have to build off of those, but we also came back and tied it up on the power play. That’s good.”

The Friars were down 3-2 early in the third period until DeBlois, a defender, shot from the blue line and beat Black Bears goalie Anna Larose (28 saves). DeBlois’ teammates mobbed her in a celebration.


DeBlois hoped to create a scoring chance for one of her teammates; the puck had other ideas and found an opening past Larose.

“I was trying to get it off a pad for a rebound. It ended up going in, so a little puck luck there,” DeBlois said.

DeBlois now has a five-game point streak (three goals and four assists), and she said Kelly is telling Friars defenders to keep shooting.

“We have gotten a lot of power plays, which has helped the past few games before this,” DeBlois said. “He’s preaching to the D to get the pucks to the net nice and low — so the forwards can get the rebounds. I think all of us have been doing a good job of that.”

Top-line center Sara Hjalmarsson gave the Friars a 4-3 lead eight and a half minutes into the third period.

On the Black Bears’ third power play of the game, Luisa Welcke pounced on a rebound and shot the puck into the half-open cage to tie the contest at 4-4. Sister Lilli Welcke and Alyssa Wruble set the tally up nearly five minutes after Hjalmarsson’s goal.


“We just tried to keep it moving and get a lot of shots on the net,” Luisa Welcke said. “We felt like we were pressuring them, we felt like we were going to score.”

After a scoreless overtime, the game went to a shootout. There were no goals in round one. Hjalmarsson and Luisa Welcke scored in the second round. After a Grace Heiting miss for Maine to start the third round, Caroline Peterson scored the game-winner in the bottom half of the third round.

Alyssa Wruble opened the scoring four and a half minutes into the first period when she poked the puck underneath Providence goalie Sandra Abstreiter (28 saves).

“We came out fast; we came out with momentum,” Engstrom said. “Again, it comes to little mistakes, the margin of error is very small and Providence is going to take advantage.”

The action was fast and furious late in the first stanza. Providence tied the game when Isabelle Hardy slid the puck to teammate Lindsay Bochna on a 2-on-1. Bochna’s shot went top shelf 16:24 into the period.

Maine responded 33 seconds later when Luisa Welcke put home the loose puck for a 2-1 lead. Lilli Welcke and Kennedy Little tallied the assists.


The Black Bears extended the lead just past the seven-minute mark of the middle frame for a 3-1 advantage. Defender Elise Morphy ripped a shot from the slot and Grace Heiting had the assist.

Providence had a chance on the power play in the middle of the second period. DeBlois had a couple of shots on the Friars’ first man-advantage. After a brief 5-on-3 portion, Providence struggled to get shots on 5-on-4 until the very end of the power play. DeBlois deflected the puck toward the goal, but Larose made the save.

Maine had its own 5-on-3 power play later, but couldn’t get anything by Abstreiter.

Maddy Coene got the Friars in striking distance in the dying seconds of the period. She stole the puck in the neutral zone and went on a breakaway and her shot beat Larose at the buzzer. After a brief conference by the referees, they did award the goal with two-tenths of a second left.

“The whole play, I am glad she was rewarded with a goal,” Kelly said. “She makes a big block defensively. That’s a big part of our game plan — you have to block shots. She came up with a big block and lug all the way up there and sneak it in.”

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