The UConn women’s hockey team has a clear defensive identity, which continues to keep opposing offenses uncomfortable on the ice. Friday night against an impressive No.10 Providence (10-5-4, 7-1-2) team, UConn (4-6-7, 0-5-4) was constantly deflecting passes and blocking shots on the way to a 2-2 tie.
“Anytime we play Providence, it’s a pretty physical game,” said UConn head coach Chris Mackenzie. “We were ready for that. They play a certain way, which is going to be somewhat physical … we like that type of compete level, that battle level. So, we were ready for that.”
Heading into the weekend, UConn’s defense was at the top of the conference, allowing only two goals per game. Providence was not too far behind them as they have given up 2.12 goals per game. It was safe to say that it would be a defensive game and that is what the fans received.
UConn blocked a total of 10 shots, while Providence blocked 11 shots. Junior Jaime Fox has become a huge part of the stellar defense, adding one block, but she had the most important goal of the game when she tied the score at two in the third period.
The anchor of the defense has been primarily senior goalie Annie Belanger, but Friday night sophomore Morgan Fisher got the start and was superb. She had a total of 25 saves in her second conference game start of the season, including three in overtime to secure the tie game.
“Morgan has played great all year. She’s been steady, calm and really performed well,” Mackenzie said. “We are happy with what Morgan has given us. We are really happy with our goaltending for sure.”
Sophomore Briana Colangelo, who got the Huskies off to a quick start with her goal two minutes into the game, said that the team focused on their energy level.
“We all talked among ourselves in the room,” Colangelo said of the team heading into the third period. “We just got up ready to go out and we wanted that first win in the Hockey East (conference) and we came out strong.”
UConn is still searching for their first win in the Hockey East and their next opportunity will come against New Hampshire Dec. 8 in their final game before their winter break.
Despite not coming away with wins, UConn has proven that their pesky defense and timely offense can keep them close in games with chances to win. They tied No. 2 Boston College twice and fought No. 10 Providence in their tie Friday night.
“It gets us to believe that we can play with anyone and compete with anyone,” Mackenzie said of the team’s ability to play at a high level against top competition. “As long as we are focused on competing and winning battles, good things will happen. Hopefully our team is learning and continuing to improve.”
Michael Logan is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.