Last weekend, the UConn women’s ice hockey team made history as the first seven seed to knock off a two seed in the Women’s Hockey East playoff. They came back after losing the first game, winning the second game and then the rubber match in the last three minutes.
This Saturday, the team has another chance to make history as they face top-ranked Boston College in the semifinals.
It’s the third time in the past four year the team has made it into the semifinal game, and BC has been the team to knock the Huskies out every time.
“Hopefully that changes this year,” junior Jamie Fox said. “They are a fun team to play, so talented. It’s good to get in there and give them everything we have and hopefully get a win.”
The Eagles have been a tough opponent for the Huskies. They’re the only team in Hockey East they’ve never beaten, and this season they are 0-1-2 facing them.
Last time they played in November, UConn tied Boston College 3-3 and the Huskies had no wins in conference play.
“We’ve grown a lot, we’ve had a few position switches and up front we kind of change our mentality,” head coach Chris MacKenzie said. “We’re more of an attack mode team and we’ve really been lead by a good senior leadership group.”
Top seed Boston College is on a five-game winning streak and is led by three scoring machines: freshman Daryl Watts (41 goals, 40 assists), sophomore Caitrin Lonergan (30, 44) and junior Makenna Newkirk (23, 27)
Watts leads the country in points with 81, the third-highest point total in NCAA history. Her 41 goals are the second most by any freshman.
While the Eagles have Watts, the Huskies have their own freshman standout, Natalie Snodgrass. Snodgrass leads the team with 19 goals and 35 points. She was voted to be one of the players on the league’s all-rookie team.
Snodgrass scored the two late goals to upset the Providence Friars last Sunday.
To neutralize BC’s goalscorers, UConn will have Annie Belanger in the net. She leads the Hockey East in save percentage (.937) and goals against average (1.83).
“She (Belanger) has been unbelievable,” Snodgrass said. “We had kind of a rocky start at the beginning of the season, but that never stopped her from saving our butts a couple of times.”
“We have confidence in the back of our net, so hopefully we can help her out and get some goals,” Snodgrass added.
MacKenzie and the players know the caliber and gander of the team, but they are not backing down from the challenge.
“Nobody said it was going to be easy and we never expected that,” Snodgrass said.
Daniela Marulanda is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.