July 02, 2020

Brothers square off in women’s hockey

It will be Filighera vs. Filighera when the University of Maine women’s hockey team takes on Rochester Institute of Technology on Sunday at 12:10 p.m. at Bouchard Arena in Brewer.

Rick Filighera, the first-year coach of the Maine team, will be coaching against older brother Bob, who is the interim head coach at RIT.

Rick Filighera, who 1 1/2 years younger than his brother, was the head coach at RIT the previous two winters with brother Bob assisting him.

“I’m looking forward to it. It’s one of the games I have circled on my schedule,” said Rick. “Whichever way it goes, it’s going to be a good day for our family.”

Brother Bob said it’s going to be a weird feeling.

“It’s definitely going to be different because I used to work with him. It’ll definitely be nice to see my brother again. It’s always a lot of fun,” he said.

Rick Filighera will also be coaching against his former players and players that he recruited for RIT.

“I have mixed emotions but I really want this group of Maine women to win. I’ve made the adjustment now. I feel like a Maine Black Bear more than an RIT. Tiger,” Rick Filighera said.

He joked that he is going to show the videotape of the game to their family only if Maine wins.

“If we don’t win, I’m going to chop up the videotape and just show our goals and tell everybody that we won,” he said, laughing.

This won’t be the first time he has coached against his brother.

They coached rival midget teams [players ages 15-17] in their native New Yo

“His team beat mine three times, all by the same score, 4-3, and we outplayed them in two of the games,” said Rick Filighera, who had to absorb some good-natured ribbing from his brother. Their father, Bob Sr., and another brother, Russ, assisted Bob Jr. with the midget team.

Filighera said he and his brother worked well together at RIT.

“We played good guy-bad guy. I was the good guy and Bob was the bad guy and he played the role real well,” he said.

They have played together every other year throughout youth hockey and Rick said his brother, being a defenseman, is more defense-oriented while he is more offensive-minded. Rick was a right wing.

The recent four-game losing skid for the UMaine men’s hockey team, its first since 1989-90, shouldn’t keep it from playoff action – even if the slide continues. Ninth-place Massachusetts has not won any league games and eight teams make the quarterfinals.

However, if Maine doesn’t ignite some offense, it will have a hard time taking two of three from any of the possible teams it may face in the quarterfinals.

The past three weeks, the Bears’ offense has slipped from third best (4.31), to fifth best (3.83), while its top-rated power play dropped to fourth best (23.36 percent).

“I’m pleased with where our defense is. I’m not pleased with where we are offensively,” UMaine coach Shawn Walsh said. “There are some things we’re trying. But I won’t [improve the offense] at the expense o defense.”

Walsh said UMaine has been working on creating more traffic around the net and that should help the offense.

“I would like to score more. We’re addressing that. We are much more competitive as a team,” Walsh said. “We’re giving ourselves a chance to win. We’ve played five straight teams that are in the top eight in the country and with four of them we had a chance to win.”

Currently, the top three teams in Hockey East, Boston University, Boston College and Northeastern are five points ahead of sixth-place Maine while fourth-place New Hampshire is two, and Lowell is one.

Maine has played three-to-five more league games than some of those teams, but if Maine faces any one of those teams in the league quarterfinals, it’s likely to struggle. Maine is 1-7-0 against BU, BC, and UNH. It has not yet faced Northeastern.

A positive sign for the Bears last weekend was when point leader Steve Kariya broke out of a scoring slump in which he scored one goal in nine games. Against BU last weekend, Kariya scored three goals and had an assist.

“That helps. We need to get other guys going with him,” Walsh said.

Jessica Lawson, who underwent surgery on her right knee in October, is expected to redshirt this season for the University of Maine women’s basketball team.

It has been a difficult comeback for Lawson, a 6-foot-2 forward from Aylmer, Quebec. She originally had surgery last spring, but the procedure apparently did not clear up the problem.

Lawson has been practicing on a limited basis for the past few weeks, but suffered a setback after slipping on the ice and has been slow in bouncing back.

Tyra Gettleman of Amherst College was honored as a member of the New England Small College Athletic Conference All-Academic Team.

Gettleman, a junior from Orono, was recognized for maintaining honor grades while making a significant contribution to the Lord Jeffs’ field hockey team last season.

Maine sophomore center Alison Lorenz of Brewer is among the nation’s leaders in goals per game. She is tied for second with 1.5 goals per game. She has 15 goals in 10 games.

She also shares the national lead in game-winning goals with four and is ninth in points per game with 2.2.

Coach Rick Filighera said one thing that has helped Lorenz is the addition of defenseman Christina Hedges to her line. Hedges is playing leof defenseman Christina Hedges to her line. Hedges is playing left wing with Alicia Gilmore on the right side.

“Alison has scored 10 of her 15 goals since Christina moved up,” said Filighera.

Hedges has seven goals and four assists and Gilmore has seven goals and two assists.

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