The Huskies and the Catamounts both played well enough not to lose, but neither team was able to get enough momentum to get a win.
For fans who love gritty, physical and aggressive hockey, this was the game for you. This was truly a defensive game. Both the Huskies and the Catamounts played solid on the defensive end and that proved to be the difference maker in this game.
Coming into this matchup, UConn (6-4-1) played very well. The Huskies were on a two-game winning streak with impressive wins over Brown and Boston College. The Catamounts (5-2-5) came into this matchup with a win over UNH.
Both teams play hard and physical on the defensive end. The Huskies coming into this game had only given up 18 goals so far this season, while the Catamounts had only given up 25. Opposing teams are having little success scoring against both of these defenses.
Both UConn and Vermont were searching for their rhythms during the first period. Vermont was able to find their rhythm quicker than the Huskies, as in the early going the Catamounts were testing the Huskies defense. Vermont had two great scoring chances but were unable to score against Morgan Fisher, who was the goalie for the Huskies.
A lot of the credit for not letting Vermont score in the first period goes to the effort UConn was showing on the defensive end. They were able to take away some good scoring chances from the Catamounts. There is no better example of this than when Taylor Wabick used her body to block a shot by Vermont. UConn held Vermont to five shots on goal in the first period.
The Huskies got off to a slow start offensively, but they were also able to find some rhythm early in the first period. UConn had some scoring opportunities, but Vermont was playing just as hard on defense as the Huskies and they were able to prevent UConn from capitalizing on their chances. UConn finished the first period with eight shots on goal.
UConn was able to carry their momentum on offense into the second period, scoring a goal in under a minute of the second period starting. The goal was scored by Natalie Snodgrass, her eighth of the season. Catherine Crawley and Tristyn Svetek assisted on the goal. The quick goal gave the Huskies a 1-0 lead. After giving up the goal early in the second period, the Catamounts would only surrender two more shots on goal, quickly shutting down the Huskies momentum on offense.
Vermont picked up its intensity on the offensive end, as they finished the period with eight shots. The Catamounts scored their first goal late in the second period to even up the score at 1-1. The goal was scored by Lily Humphrey.
Vermont committed a penalty with less than two minutes remaining in the second period, which would prove to be very costly. Power plays are two minutes long, and since there were less than two minutes left in the period, the power play would continue into the end of the first period.
The Huskies were able to capitalize on the Catamounts mistake by scoring a power play goal to start the third period to take a 2-1 lead. The goal was scored by Crawley, her third of the season. Morgan Wabick and Briana Colangelo assisted on the goal. Once again, the momentum swung in UConn’s favor.
The Catamounts responded to give up a goal by playing even harder on the offensive end. The Catamounts have been better than every team in one area so far this year, and that area is scoring on power play goals. Vermont had only had one power play opportunity in the game, but they were unable to convert. They got another chance midway through the third period and they ran with it. The Catamounts were able to score and tie the game up at 2-2. The goal was scored by Maude Poulin-Labelle.
Neither team was able to score the rest of the period, sending the game to overtime. Both teams had few opportunities on offense in overtime thanks to how hard the defenses of both teams were playing. UConn had a chance early in the start of overtime to score but the shot missed. After that it became a defensive battle until the end with the final score being 2-2. Both UConn and Vermont each gained a point as a result of the tie.
Coming into the game when asked about what areas he believed the team could still improve upon after last weeks win over BC, head coach Chris Mackenzie had this to say. “The areas where we look to be consistent and rise to the occasion like we did against Boston College are we want that same level of intensity and focus. If we can mimic that on a game in and game out, day to day way, we are going to be in a great place,” said Mackenzie.
The Huskies were definitely playing with a high level of intensity and focus throughout the game. This has been the case with the team all season long. It does not matter if they are playing the best team in the conference or the worst. They will bring the same level of effort every single game.
Mackenzie thought the defense had a good performance despite the result of the game. “Pretty solid. You’re eliminating a team to 20 shots, I feel like we were doing a pretty good job there. Vermont is a very worthy opponent and it was a good game,” said Mackenzie.
Mackenzie was also fine with the shots the team took throughout the game. “It was ‘take what we can get.’ We had a few couple bad bounces. It was a tight game. Vermont is a very good defensive team and I think we are too. We knew it was going to be a low scoring game. There were not going to be a lot of grade A scoring type opportunities. We had a few good opportunities here and there, and an inch here or there and it’s a different game. It was a good college hockey game,” Mackenzie said.