Women’s Hockey: UConn meets undefeated Boston College in semis

UConn women's ice hockey forward Theresa Knutson protects the puck during the Huskies' game against New Hampshire in February 2016 at the Freitas Ice Forum in Storrs, Connecticut. (Jackson Haigis/The Daily Campus)

This weekend, the UConn women’s hockey team will travel to the Lawler Rink in North Andover, Massachusetts to play in the Hockey East conference semifinals. The Huskies will matchup against the undefeated Boston College Eagles on Saturday afternoon in a single-elimination game to determine who goes to the finals on Sunday.

BC stands as a nearly impossible hurdle for UConn’s advance as the Huskies lost 4-0 in the first two matchups this year. However, UConn has played the eagles to some close results in the past.

Most recently, UConn lost to Boston College 5-4 at home in one of their better performances of the year. That day, UConn led for a short time with a score of 2-1, which was only the third time BC had trailed in a game all year. That kind of stat shows that the Huskies can play up to their competition and give them a real fight, even if few believe they can.

Several of UConn’s players felt confident ahead of the upcoming David versus Goliath matchup and seemed excited at the prospect of potentially beating the Eagles on Saturday, especially following a momentum-building series win over UNH last weekend.

“I want to play them (BC), and I want to give them something that they’ll remember,” captain Leah Buress said. “We’ve been practicing all week, preparing for the game. We’re just focusing on the little details, or winning details as Coach MacKenzie calls them, and we’ll give it our best effort.”

Goaltender Elaine Chuli reiterated those sentiments.

“We’ll take a few days off here, and then get ready to play BC,” Chuli said. “We’re excited to play them and have another shot at them. We’re going to work hard this week and hope for the best on Saturday, but we’ll be ready to play for sure.”

Following last week’s win, MacKenzie discussed how much the team’s confidence and chemistry has improved throughout the year, culminating in their big quarterfinal series win. He later echoed that statement in regard to the semifinal matchup with BC.

“We’re in the conference semifinals for the second year in a row,” MacKenzie said. “We’re going in really confident and we’re going to play our best and see what happens. We just really have got to be opportunistic with our chances and we have to stay out of the penalty box. Those will be the two things we need to do to pull off the upset.”