UConn women’s hockey is in for its toughest challenge so far this season when it takes on Boston College, who is currently in first place in Hockey East.
UConn (5-4-0) enters this matchup coming off a dominant 7-0 win over Brown University. The Huskies are 4-29-5 all time against Boston College (9-0-1). The Huskies are currently mired in a five-game losing streak to the Eagles which they will seek to end this Saturday.
Boston College has been the best team in Hockey East this season. They have 17 points on the year so far, which is eight more points than the University of New Hampshire. The Eagles have beaten every opponent that they have played this season except for the University of Maine, who they tied with.
Boston College has cruised to first place in the conference thanks to eight wins over Hockey East Rivals. The Eagles have a fearsome offense that can take over games. They have scored 44 goals on the year so far, while they have only allowed 14 goals to be scored against them. Teams are not going to be able to win a shootout against the Eagles, as they average 4.4 goals a game, while also averaging 32.8 shots per game. Boston College has scored nine power play goals on the season so far as well.
While the Eagles have a ton of talented players on the offensive end, freshman forward Hannah Bilka is the best of the bunch. Bilka has scored a goal in every game she has played in this year, with 10 on the year as of this weekend. She also leads the team in shots taken with 42.
Another player to keep an eye on from Boston College is forward Kelly Browne. Browne has scored six goals to go along with 11 assists, which lead the Eagles. The duo of Bilka and Brown could cause major problems for UConn if they find their groove early.
The Eagles are not to be taken lightly on defense either. The Eagles’ defense does a good job of not letting opponents get great scoring chances, as they limit opponents to taking less than 25 shots on goal per game. Boston College has three shutouts on the year, two of which belong to goalie Maddie McArthur.
UConn is going to have to be at the top of its game against Boston College if it hopes to come away with a win. The Huskies have been up and down so far this season, looking unstoppable on some nights while struggling on others. For example, the Huskies were unstoppable against Brown, winning 7-0, but struggled against Colgate and lost 6-2. UConn appears to be moving in the right direction, however. The Huskies were playing sharp, fast and aggressive against Brown University on Tuesday night, which led to them coming away with the win.
One of the keys for the game for UConn is that it must not fall behind the Eagles. UConn’s chances of beating Boston College will take a significant hit if it is forced into a shootout with the Eagles. The Huskies got off to a quick start against Brown, scoring three goals in the first period. It is unlikely that Boston College is going to let the Huskies do the same to them, but UConn is going to have to put the Eagles on the defensive early.
UConn will benefit greatly if they can put the Eagles on the defensive, as the Huskies can keep the Eagles vaunted offense from getting many scoring chances.
UConn has scored 26 goals on the season, while averaging around 39 shots per game. While the scoring hasn’t been consistent, the Huskies are getting plenty of chances. As long as they can capitalize on those chances, the Huskies should find themselves with a chance to hand the Eagles their first loss of the season.
Players to keep an eye on for UConn are Natalie Snodgrass and Morgan Wabick. Snodgrass is a dynamic player who is constantly making big plays for the Huskies. She has three goals on the season to go along with eight assists. She also leads the team in shots with 50 so far. Wabick has scored three goals this season and two assists. She is second on the team in shots as well with 34.
UConn will take on Boston College at 3 p.m. on Saturday at the Mark Edwards Freitas Ice Forum.