BOSTON – California conceded the first goal Sunday but scored the next two of the game to take the lead five minutes later and held on for a 2-1 victory over Maine in Boston.
The Black Bears (9-8) took the lead at 23:22 on a goal by Annabelle Hamilton, but Nicole Wallstedt equalized 80 seconds later and Lara Kruggel hit the game-winner at 28:13 to push California (6-10) to a win in the final road game of the regular season.
“It was kind of like Friday where we let them score first and then woke up,” California head coach Shellie Onstead said. “We had a rough start and then played good hockey. We scored within a minute or two within their goal. It was nice to see that we responded the way that we did.”
Junior goalkeeper Courtney Hendrickson registered nine saves in the game to hold off a Black Bear attack that attempted 21 shots in the game, including eight shots in the final 15 minutes of action as Maine scrambled to send the game to overtime.
The first half was a typically even affair with Maine holding a slight 6-4 edge in shots and 3-2 edge in penalty corners. Much like California’s game against Boston University two days earlier, all of the scoring happened in the first half, but this time the Golden Bears came out on top. Maine took the lead in the 24th minute after Hamilton took advantage of a misclearance to rifle a goal into the back of the cage.
Not even two minutes later, California struck with Wallstedt’s second of the season off an assist from Jordan O’Reilly. O’Reilly fed Wallstedt from the middle of the field, and the redshirt sophomore sent a backhand from the top of the circle that rifled past the keeper. Kruggel then added the final tally with a goal from one of Cal’s two penalty corners in the half. Shannon Elmitt took the service which was stopped by Natalie Gibbens before Kruggel sent it into the cage.
“At the end of the game they had good chances and Courtney made awesome saves,” Onstead said. “You hope it all comes together like that. There’s definitely been concerted adjustments every game to work on this new midfield and we’re really progressing which is awesome. All of the injuries slowed things down and we’re starting to put things together.”
California returns home to face No. 11 Stanford on Thursday, October 31 at Maxwell Family Field in the season finale. That game will be televised by the Pac-12 Networks.