The UConn Men’s and Women’s Hockey teams took to the ice at Freitas Ice Forum Tuesday night for the inaugural Hockey Night in Storrs. Both the men’s and women's teams were split into co-ed teams and participated in competitions like “fastest skater,” “best breakaway” and “hardest slapshot” before ending the night with a scrimmage.
Men’s Hockey Beat Writer Bryan Lambert and Women’s Hockey Beat Writer Rachel Schaefer broke down their favorite parts of the night and offered some constructive criticism for future Hockey Nights in Storrs.
Rachel: Theresa Knutson played the entire scrimmage with a UConn flag tied around her neck. I like to think that’s what led her team to victory. It added an element to the game that she’s not used to, and she performed very well in spite of it. Being able to adapt is important in a player. Excellent work, Theresa.
Bryan: I could give to Max Letunov just for his breakaway goal where he picked up the puck with his stick like a lacrosse player and spun it home. Instead, I’m going to give it to the women’s team as a whole. From the moment they came out onto the ice rowing an invisible canoe, they brought the energy and excitement. They all seemed to enjoy playing toe-to-toe against their teammates, whether it was in one of the competitions or the scrimmage. They had fun with it and it helped the fans get into it, too.
Rachel: “Best penalty shot” was far and away the most exciting thing about this night. These players are creative and talented, and they showcased both traits during this event. It was amazing. Annie Belanger blocked a shot with her butt. Literally, she used her butt. Catherine Crawley picked up her stick, pretended to shoot Morgan Fisher and then scored over Fisher’s collapsed body. Ingenuity at its finest.
Bryan: The penalty shot competition was the best and it wasn’t even close. The girls were able to get very creative with their attempts. My personal favorite was Briana Colagelo switching sticks in the middle of her shot and almost scoring with what looked like a knee hockey stick.
Best new face:
Rachel: Natalie Snodgrass. She’s already been tearing it up this season, scoring a clutch last-minute goal against St. Cloud to kick off the season. She also had a multi-point weekend against Union this past weekend. She won the speed skate, which required her to beat two upper-classmen in a row. Snodgrass is definitely a bright spot for the future of this women’s team.
Bryan: My vote is going to go to Zac Robbins. In the fastest skater competition he narrowly beat out Kal El-Mir before losing to Senior Corey Ronan in the finals. He did try to trip Ronan at the very end which shows he’s willing to go the extra mile to earn victory.
Rachel: The night wasn’t organized well. There’s no way around it. I get that it was the event’s first year, but there seemed to be a major disconnect between the marketing people and the players. Aside from that, it was a solid night. The players clearly had fun out there, and I like that. Also, unpopular opinion: the pep band should go to women’s games. I’m including this because the Daily Campus has had a lot of sway power regarding pep bands before so hear me now: COME TO WOMEN’S GAMES.
Bryan: For the inaugural event, it could have been a whole lot worse. Yeah, there were points where no one could hear what any of the players were saying, and there were times where no one seemed to go, but it all worked out in the end. I would scrap the hardest slapshot competition. Unless a player is reaching triple digits, it’s boring to watch. All that aside, it was a nice way for fans to get a little more personal with two programs that have been on the rise in recent years.
Rachel Schaefer is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bryan Lambert is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.