This past weekend, the UConn women’s hockey team played a series against Penn State. Game one kicked off on Friday night at Freitas Ice Forum. The game was physical from the start. Both teams played aggressively for the full 65 minutes of play in a game that would end in a 0-0 after a five-minute sudden death period.
As expected with the new standard of play, there were still a high amount of penalties for both teams, but there has been an improvement since week one. Refs are cracking down on stick infractions and eight of the ten penalties from game one were for that reason. The Huskies again found themselves struggling to capitalize on these power plays. Twice during the game they committed their own penalty during a power play, evening out the sides.
“What the refs are watching is stick infractions,” coach Chris MacKenzie said after the game. “If you look at these penalties, a lot of them are hooking or tripping. The shoulder to shoulder stuff isn’t that bad.”
Both sides saw impressive defense, particularly from their goaltenders. Penn State’s goalie, Daniela Paniccia, saved 33 shots through three periods and overtime play, while UConn’s Annie Belanger saved 39. In the end this solid defense left both teams scoreless for a game one tie.
Game two took place Saturday at Freitas and got off to a much quicker start than the first. UConn’s Rebecca Lindblad scored in just 14 seconds. Penn State wasn’t down for long, however, tying the game in the sixth minute on a goal from Laura Bowman, their leading scorer. UConn goalie Morgan Fisher was injured on the play and temporarily left the game in favor of Belanger. Fisher shortly returned and finished out the period without allowing a goal.
“The refs said that the contact with our goalie was after the puck was in. I was hoping they would review it, but they didn’t want to, and I wasn’t going to call a timeout to have them review it so the play stood,” MacKenzie said of the injury to Fisher.
The second period saw the first penalties of the game, two for UConn and one for Penn State. All three were stick infractions. It also saw Penn State scoring their second goal, again by Laura Bowman.
“The defense was solid. We struggled early on and then we really started to settle down and make solid decisions with the puck. Once we did that the game really started to turn for us,” MacKenzie said of the defense’s improvements throughout the game.
Period three again was off to a quick start, with UConn’s Theresa Knutson tying the game barely a minute after the puck was dropped. To complete the victory, Leah Lum delivered a goal in the 14th minute and an empty net goal in the 19th minute. UConn took game two by a score of 4-2.
Women’s hockey kicks off another weekend series on Friday at Freitas Ice Forum against Boston College. Game two will switch home advantage to Boston College as the two sides face off in Conte Forum.
Rachel Schaefer is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.