UConn women’s hockey (7-11-8, 1-10-5) will take on Maine (16-7-3, 10-4-2) at home Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 3 p.m. as they continue their fight for a playoff spot.
The Huskies’ last matchup against Maine came on Nov. 12. Freshman Natalie Snodgrass had two goals for UConn during the 4-3 loss in overtime. UConn head coach Chris Mackenzie said he expects to see two different teams.
“Both teams have grown since the last time we met. Maine is having a terrific year after being in last place, they shot right up in the standings,” Mackenzie said. “Maine has one of the best players in the league (Tereza Vanisova), a few dangerous forwards too.”
Senior captain Justine Fredette said UConn has the tools to take down Maine.
“We just have to put it all together and execute properly,” Fredette said. “ I think we have the talent and teammates to do it. So, we just have to put it away this weekend.”
Junior Jaime Fox said the Huskies will have to dig deep against Maine in order to be successful.
“(Maine) are going to be physical. They want to win just as bad as we do and they are going to give it all they have,” Fox said. “Their defense is pretty mobile, and we are just going to have to shut them down and take it to them.”
Maine is coming off a 4-2 loss against Merrimack and should be hungry against the Huskies. Vanisova is the team’s offensive catalyst; she is sixth in the conference for points scoring with 26 assists and 13 goals.
The Black Bears also have the No.1 scoring defense, allowing a stingy 2.04 goals per game. Goalie Carly Jackson has not been kind to opposing offenses, as she allows only 1.76 goals each game.
As for how the Huskies can put the puck in the net against Jackson, Mackenzie offered a few tactics.
“We need to keep sustained pressure in the zone. The more time we can spend down there, the more shots on them we can get and hopefully more goals,” Mackenzie said.
UConn’s Snodgrass is ninth in the conference for points scoring with 14 goals and 11 assists. The team’s defense has been effective at putting pressure on opposing offenses, allowing only 2.27 goals a game.
With only eight games left of the regular season and the Huskies in last place, they will need to fight for a playoff spot. It is reasonable, as only one team from the conference will be eliminated.
“With eight games before the playoffs and us really scraping to get into the playoffs,” Mackenzie said, “I think this is a desperate time for us. So, we have to play desperate.”
Michael Logan is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.