This weekend, the UConn women’s hockey team will be playing in the IceBreaker Tournament in Buffalo, New York, with the Huskies trying to find themselves and who they are as a team.
The Huskies (4-2-0) enter the IceBreaker Tournament currently in fifth place in Hockey East with a total of four points for the season. UConn has played average so far during conference play as they have a 2-2 record against conference rivals this season. Even though UConn will not be playing any conference rivals in the Icebreaker Tournament, these games will give the Huskies a chance to fix the problems they have been dealing with over the last couple of games.
The Huskies will have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity this weekend as they are playing in the first ever women’s IceBreaker Tournament, meaning that UConn could be the first ever team to win this tournament. In order to do that the Huskies will have to be at the top of their game this weekend. UConn’s first matchup of the tournament is against Colgate.
Colgate (4-2-1) has gotten off to a good start this season. Their great start is in large part because the Raiders have not lost a home game so far this season. UConn has a 3-5-1 record all-time against the Raiders, with the last meeting between these two teams ending in a 3-3 tie. Colgate comes into the tournament riding a two-game winning streak.
The Raiders are a talented team offensively as they are scoring almost three goals per game so far this season, while averaging around 29 shots per game. The only area where Colgate has struggled offensively this season is power plays. The Raiders have only scored three goals this year off power plays.
The Raiders do a great job of passing the puck in the opponent’s zone and setting themselves up to have great scoring chances. The Raiders have had 12 different players score goals this season so far. With that being said, the offense runs through forwards Coralie Larose and Noemi Neubauerova. Larose currently leads Colgate in shots on goal this year with 29, and she is second on the team in goals scored with three. Neubauerova has scored four goals on the season, which is incredible because she has only taken 10 shots on the season. The Huskies are going to have their hands full against the Raiders’ offense, especially if these two players are playing well.
UConn’s next matchup in the tournament depends on the outcome of the Huskies’ game against Colgate. If UConn wins, they will take on the winner of Mercyhurst vs. Minnesota Duluth. If the Huskies lose to Colgate, they will take on the loser of that matchup.
Mercyhurst (4-1-1) has gotten off to a great start as well. The Lakers come into the tournament on fire, having won their last four games. The Lakers’ only loss on the year came against Colgate. The Lakers are 7-1-2 all-time against UConn. So it’s safe to say we know who the Lakers want to see win in Colgate’s game against the Huskies.
Mercyhurst is arguably the best team in the IceBreaker Tournament, averaging 4.7 goals per game this year. It’s easy to put up numbers like that when your team is averaging around 44 shots per game. The Lakers are also good on power plays, having scored nine times already this season off power plays.
Of the 28 goals the Laker have scored this year, an astounding 18 have come from just four players. Two players who make their presence felt every game are forwards Summer-Rae Dobson and Megan Korzack. Both players have five goals each so far.
Minnesota Duluth (3-3-0) have played average so far this year. The Bulldogs are currently on a two-game losing streak. UConn is 0-7-1 against Minnesota Duluth all-time. Minnesota Duluth is an average team both offensively and defensively. If UConn plays strong on the defensive end, the Huskies have a good chance of beating the Bulldogs for the first time ever.
The Huskies’ offense is going to have to be at its absolute best to keep pace with the scoring of the other teams. Chances are these games are going to be shootouts. UConn is averaging 2.7 goals per game with around 40 shots per game. The Huskies must be better on the power play this weekend. If the Huskies fail to find success in this area, it is going to make winning against these teams even more difficult.
Players to watch for on the Huskies are forwards Morgan Wabick and Natalie Snodgrass. Wabick has scored three goals so far this season, and she is second on the team in shots on goal. Snodgrass leads the team in shots and has scored two goals on the year. If these two are playing well, UConn’s offense will find itself with better scoring opportunities.
UConn will play Colgate at 7:30 p.m. on Friday. Then the Huskies will either face Mercyhurst or Minnesota Duluth at 4:30 p.m. or 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Joshua Gorman is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. He tweets @joshuagorman15.