A single loose puck fell to the stick of Boston College’s Ryan Little and suddenly the season was over for the UConn women’s hockey team. A hard-fought season ended in overtime to the No. 6 team in the country.
Sometimes when a season is over, certain games come to mind that a team knows they should have been won. There is no doubt that this weekend’s games will be the highlight of that list.
Friday night’s game against Northeastern (20-3-3, 18-2-2 Hockey East) was arguably the most heartbreaking loss of the season for UConn (13-14-2, 8-12-2 Hockey East).
A nifty first-period goal by Catherine Crawley, in which she dangled around three Northeastern defenders, gave the Huskies an early 1-0 lead. That’s where the score would stay for the majority of the game.
Head coach Chris MacKenzie talked about the decision to play more defensive after getting the early lead, which led to only six shots total after the first period.
“We were playing a little extra defensive just to try to keep them outside,” he said. “They were getting a lot of shots, but a lot of it was from outside, so you give up shots but not high quality scoring chances. In the third specifically, we were just trying to keep them outside and run the clock out.”
Despite the increasing pressure from the Northeastern offense, including a 14-to-2 shot advantage in the third period, goalie Morgan Fisher kept UConn in front with some unbelievable saves. However, the decision to play conservative ultimately didn’t pay off and Northeastern tied the game with 1:36 remaining in the game on a goal by Chloe Aurard to send it to overtime.
Northeastern dominated overtime and UConn never even recorded a shot; Skylar Fontaine scored the game winner three-and-a-half minutes into the period.
Despite the loss, MacKenzie was proud of his team’s effort and performance.
“I thought we played a solid game. It was good to get the lead right away, just came up short at the end there,” he said. “It would have been nice to get at least one point, but I’m proud of my team, I’m proud of the effort, just came up short.”
As if one tough loss wasn’t enough, the Huskies traveled to Providence on Saturday to face the Friars (18-9-1, 12-8-1 Hockey East) and came up short yet again.
UConn scored first in this game as well on a Savannah Bouzide goal 18 seconds into the game. They wouldn’t find the back of the net again, as the Providence defense held them to just 19 shots over the course of the game.
The Friars would tie the game at one later in the first and the score remained tied until the final period. Emily Landry scored the game winner five minutes into the third and UConn couldn’t cash in again, even when they pulled Fisher at the end of the period. Instead, they let up an empty netter to seal Providence’s 3-1 victory.
Back-to-back games in which they blew an early lead and lost in the final period will be tough for this team to bounce back from, but they will try to do so when they play Vermont next weekend. One game will be at the Freitas Ice Forum while the other will be at the XL Center in Hartford.
Danny Barletta is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We found a way to win, if we look back at it we weren’t too sharp in the first two periods. Morgan Fisher had a lot to do with keeping us in the game. We weren’t connecting, and we weren’t really in sync. That’s a credit to UNH, they’re a hard-working team and they really play good hockey,” coach Chris Mackenzie said after Saturday’s tilt.
Sophomore Natalie Snodgrass had a huge game, recording both the first and the last UConn goals of the game. The two goals brought her total to five on the season, and she is now tied for the team lead in points with 15. Both goals were assisted by freshman Viki Harkness, who now has eight assists this season.