A few brave fans showed up to Freitas Ice Forum Saturday amidst a snowstorm to watch the UConn women’s hockey team square off in a tough matchup against No. 6 Northeastern in the second game of a back-to-back series. But despite a very strong start from UConn on a snowy afternoon, the Huskies allowed five unanswered goals and Northeastern won 7-3.
“We just got to get pucks on net – we were doing that in the first – but we just got to make plays when they are there, got to score goals, got to make plays, and we weren’t able to rise up to Northeastern’s level of play,” UConn head coach Chris MacKenzie said following the loss.
Kendall Coyne, the nation’s leading points scorer, had an extreme impact on Saturday’s game. The senior forward scored two goals and had two assists. Coyne opened the scoring just two minutes into the game as she sniped a shot over goalie Elaine Chuli’s glove side. Coyne also assisted on NU’s second goal to give them a 2-1 lead.
“It’s very comforting [for Northeastern] when you know she’s good for probably two points, if not more, a game so you’re probably up 2-0 the second you step on the ice,” MacKenzie said of Coyne’s talent and impact on the game. “With her on the ice, other players are able to explore their potential and find out how good they are.”
UConn responded, however. The Huskies scored just 24 seconds into a power play late in the first period. Brittany Berisoff sent a nice pass to Leah Lum, who then slid the puck past Sarah Foss for the equalizer.
Berisoff then scored a goal of her own with 12 seconds to go before the first intermission. Berisoff intercepted a pass in Northeastern’s zone and quickly chipped the puck over and past Foss once more in a one on one situation, all while being tripped from behind by MacMillan, who was called for a penalty on the goal.
UConn struggled to find any rhythm in the offensive zone for the last two period. Northeastern would score five unanswered goals over the final two periods to close the Huskies out.
Northeastern tied the game on the power play halfway through the second period when Lauren Kelly found the top shelf after a nice pass from Jordan Krause. With 3:19 left in the period, Northeastern took the lead for good with McKenna Brand’s goal.
Despite being down by just one goal entering the final period, the Huskies needed an offensive spark to bring them back in the game. Unfortunately for UConn, they did not get it. After a slow start from both teams in the final period, Northeastern got goals from Kelly, Krause and Coyne to finish off UConn.
Chuli did everything she could to keep the Huskies in the game, finishing with 36 saves.
Saturday’s home game was a little extra special as UConn played its annual Skating Strides game. The team wore pink jerseys to raise awareness for breast cancer and encouraged fans to come to the game wearing pink as well. The team also sold t-shirts to raise money. The women’s hockey team raised $7,500 on Saturday to help fight breast cancer.
“Our team knocks it out of the park when fundraising for these organizations and loves playing for the cause,” coach MacKenzie said.
Chris Hanna is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.