From Nov. 10 – Dec. 31 UConn had not won a game and were carrying an unimpressive 4-7-7 record heading into their winter break. The Huskies stayed positive with the help of senior leadership.
The team caught fire down the stretch and saw their season end with a 2-1 loss against Northeastern in the championship.
“We never stopped believing in ourselves and our process of preparation,” UConn head coach Chris MacKenzie said of overcoming a slow start to the season. “Going winless wasn’t ideal but many of the games were ties against good opponents. We just weren’t finding a way to win those games.”
The Huskies (16-14-9, 7-11-6 WHEA) will lose eight seniors including Leah Lum, Theresa Knutson and team-MVP Annie Belanger. Lum is second in program history for assists (60), third for points (102) and sixth for goals (42). Knutson is third for goals (51).
Belanger is UConn’s all-time leader among goaltenders for save percentage (.928) and second in goals against average (2.25). This season, she was a critical part for the Huskies run to the championship game against Northeastern as she led the Hockey East in save percentage (.938) and goals against average (1.84).
The goaltender was also named to the New England D-1 All-Star Team for her successful season. Belanger said that she is proud of her accomplishments.
“I feel finished and I have no regrets,” Belanger said at the end of the season. “At the end of last year we had individual meetings with the coaches and he asked me what my objective was for next year (this year) and I said I wanted to be a first team all-star and he said ”ok, just do it”. I am really proud of the way the second half of the season went, both for the team and myself.”
Morgan Fisher will look to take over goaltending duties as she played effectively in nine games the past season. Her goals against average was 1.86, while her save percentage was .933.
The Huskies will have rising sophomore Natalie Snodgrass back on the ice next season after she led the team in goals (21), points (38) and power play goals (7). She was voted the team’s freshman of the year. She said that she thinks the team will pick up where they left off next season.
“There is depth in all our classes, who all contribute to our success,” Snodgrass said. “And I’ve also heard great things about the incoming freshmen, so we’re excited to see how they’ll play a role in next season as well.”
Rising senior Jaime Fox was named the team’s captain for next season. She had 14 points for the Huskies and was a stalwart on defense. Briana Colangelo and Rebecca Lindblad were named alternate captains.
“Our team has recognized these three individuals as our captains for next season,” MacKenzie said in a post to the team’s website. “Jaime (Fox) has been a consistent player and respected leader on our team throughout her career. We’re lucky to have her.”
As for next season, MacKenzie said he is expects next year’s team to be similar.
“We have a strong culture where everyone respects each other and works hard towards our goals,” UConn head coach Chris MacKenzie said. “The team chemistry will be different, but the attitude and everyday work ethic should remain consistent.”
Michael Logan is the sports editor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.