Coming into this weekend’s action, UConn was riding high on a four-game win streak. Behind strong performances from sophomore forward Natalie Snodgrass and junior goaltender Morgan Fisher, UConn was able to stretch that streak to six games with a weekend sweep of UNH.
“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. “The penalty kill allowed us to get some momentum back and Natalie Snodgrass came out of the box with a great individual effort and makes it 1-1. We go into the third at home feeling pretty good, we’re able to regroup, and we had a great third period.”
UConn (13-9-1, 8-7-1 WHEA) took on UNH (8-10-4, 5-9-1 WHEA) for two tightly-contested games Friday and Saturday. UNH had been red-hot as they were riding an eight-game unbeaten run of their own coming into this weekend’s action. Both teams put two tough defensive efforts forth for the two matches, but UConn was able to secure the win in both games.
Sophomore Savannah Bouzide opened the scoring eight minutes into the second period Friday. This goal was assisted by Briana Colangelo, her 11th of the season. Colangelo would go on to assist two more goals Saturday, to bring her season total up to 13.
Friday’s action saw nine killed powerplays, with six coming from UConn and three from UNH. UConn was able to sure up its powerplay defense after surrendering two short-handed goals last Saturday against Holy Cross.
“We revisited the things we wanted to do, if they score they’re gonna score off of a broken play not a set play where they break us down,” said Mackenzie when asked about Friday’s defensive success on penalty kills. “We’re going to be super aggressive on the penalty kill. The team had bought into that and we’re really happy with what we’re seeing.”
Fisher put on a clinic in net over the weekend with a 32-save, shutout Friday and a 39-save effort Saturday. Eight minutes into the first period of Saturday’s play, she laid out for a fantastic save. This effort signified her play all season, as she averages 27.5 saves per game played.
“I think it’s a team effort, seeing the team perform in front of me gives me more confidence, so that’s a big help in net,” said Fisher.
Snodgrass scored an empty netter Friday, which was assisted by Catherine Crawley and Taylor Wabick, to seal the win with 43 seconds left on the clock in the third period. Despite team-wide offensive struggles in the first and second period, she provided the spark with a downright nasty 2-on-1 goal Saturday. After picking up a hooking penalty 14 minutes into the second, she picked up the puck straight out of the penalty box and slotted home her first goal of the afternoon.
The team did not look back and added three more goals in the third period. Morgan Wabick started the third off strong as she scored after a seamless passing maneuver from Colangelo and Bouzide, for her 10th goal of the year. Snodgrass added another goal on a well-worked powerplay opportunity that saw key passes from Colangelo and Crawley to put Snodgrass in a position to slot it home. Snodgrass’ brace increased her season goal total to 12, leading the team. Crawley put the game away with the final goal on an empty net with 30 seconds left in the third period, assisted by Viki Harkness. This was Crawley’s eighth of the year, and Harkness’ 10th assist.
Before Saturday’s action, Snodgrass flipped a puck to an ecstatic young fan in a pink hoodie.
“I love it, her dad and her family actually reached out through social media and she’s my biggest fan,” said Snodgrass when asked about what seeing the young fan’s excitement to watch her play means to her. “She comes to every home game, I love seeing her. It definitely pumps us up in between every period when they [group of young UConn fans] are all waiting to say good luck to us.”
Mike Mavredakis is a campus correspondent for the Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.