UConn managed to snap a three-game losing streak and start a winning streak of its own with wins over Maine on Friday and Saturday.
UConn (14-11-1) came into Friday’s matchup reeling. The Huskies had been held scoreless in their last three matchups and were struggling to find consistency game in and game out. This was the second time this season that the team lost three games in a row, with the other losing streak occurring earlier in the season against Boston College, Yale and Minnesota-Duluth.
Maine (10-12-5) came into this matchup in a slightly better position than the Huskies, but not by much. The Black Bears had not lost a game since Jan. 4. Maine has only won twice since that game, while finishing three games with ties.
UConn came into the game looking to find more consistency in certain areas, especially on offense. UConn has had some games where they have dominated on the offensive end, like in the 7-0 victory of Brown. The team has also had its fair share of problems on offense as well, which can be seen over the span of the three-game losing streak.
The question for UConn has not been whether or not they are a good team offensively. Whether the team can find a level of consistency on offense that can be brought to every game is the question. The Huskies do a good job of creating scoring opportunities, but they are not always able to seal the deal.
“We have just been really snake bitten, but it isn’t from a lack of chances,” said head coach Chris MacKenzie regarding the scoring drought the team was experiencing.
Game 1 got off to a fast start with both teams working hard on the offensive end early. A little before halfway through the first period the Huskies were able to force Maine to focus on playing defense. Good puck movement was allowing the team to keep looking for good scoring opportunities.
UConn did not have to wait long to convert one of those opportunities, scoring the first goal of the game almost nine minutes into the first period. The goal was scored by Savannah Bouzide, with assists going to Danielle Fox and Tristyn Svetek. The goal was Bouzide’s fifth of the year, and it gave UConn a 1-0 lead.
Bouzide’s goal also happened to be the teams 13th power play goal of the season. The team has struggled to find the level of success they have wanted when presented with power play opportunities. This was an area where MacKenzie was looking for improvement in.
“We are shooting for one power play goal a game, and we were able to achieve that,” said MacKenzie. After taking the early lead, the team settled into a good rhythm even though they did not score again in the first period. “It was good to get one early and it allowed us to settle in,” said MacKenzie.
The players were glad to finally get on the board as well.
“I think for us it was a big lift in the game. Getting that first goal really helped the momentum go on our side,” said Bouzide.
The first period came to a wild finish when it appeared that Maine had just scored a goal right at the buzzer. The goal was waved off by one of the referees, eliciting a cheer from Husky fans and boos from fans of the Black Bears. After reviewing the play to see if the puck did cross into the net before time ran out, the decision stood that there was no goal, leaving UConn with a 1-0 lead heading into the second period.
Both teams were once again battling hard on the offensive end to start the second period. During one stretch of play that lasted around two to three minutes, the Black Bears were giving it everything that they had on offense, but UConn’s stout defense was able to hold up and keep Maine scoreless. Maine was able to capitalize with a little less than six minutes left in the second period, scoring to tie the game at 1-1. Ida Kuoppala scored the goal.
Going into the third period, the game felt like it could go either way. Maine was looking to try and get a power play opportunity, since they have scored the third most power play goals in Hockey East. The team had a power play opportunity in the second, but it went nowhere thanks to good defense by the Huskies.
UConn seized the initiative on offense, scoring a goal right before the 11-minute mark, to retake the lead which was now 2-1. Danielle Fox scored the goal, her third of the season. Assists went to Morgan Wabick and Jessie Aney. The goal was scored only a few feet from the net with multiple people around the net, and MacKenzie loved it.
“We earned that goal. It was a good, greasy little goal around the net. It was perfect,” said MacKenzie.
A minute passed after the goal when Maine got the power play opportunity that they were looking for. They were able to take three shots, but thanks to stellar goal work by Samantha Carpenter-Yelle, the Huskies were able to shut down another power play opportunity. From that point on UConn did what it needed to, and they came away with the 2-1 win.
Going into Game 2 on Saturday, MacKenzie believed the team still needed to find and hold onto a consistent level of play.
“Consistency, where we are playing well and it dips a bit, and puck management. We are having some unforced errors where we are trying to do too much. It comes from a good place, but we are trying to do too much sometimes,” MacKenzie said.
Well it appears UConn has finally found the consistency they have been searching for. It only took two minutes and one second for the team to score a goal to take an early 1-0 lead. Viki Harkness scored the goal, her fifth of the year. Assists went to Emily Reid and Kaitlyn Yearwood.
Maine wasted no time in responding with their own goal 18 seconds later. Celine Tedenby scored the goal. Less than three minutes into this game it was clear that this would be a totally different game than the one from the previous night.
Taylor Wabick scored five minutes later to give the Huskies a 2-1 lead. It was her fourth of the year. Claire Peterson and Leona Sim received assists on the play. They were not finished scoring in the period yet. Catherine Crawley scored her ninth goal of the year to make it a 3-1 UConn lead. Briana Colangelo and Taylor Wabick assisted on the play.
The second period started off almost the exact same as the first period, with the only difference being it took UConn one minute longer to score early in the period, with their fourth goal of the game coming three minutes into the start of the second period. Catherine Crawley scored the goal, her second of the game, with Briana Colangelo and Tristyn Svetek. he goal was her tenth of the year, and it gave the team a 4-1 lead.
The Black Bears found themselves in a great position to possibly get two goals thanks to back-to-back penalties by UConn. With only three players on defense for the Huskies, the team finally had a great scoring chance, and they capitalized, scoring a goal to cut the lead to 4-2. They almost had another, but goalie Morgan Fisher somehow was able to get her glove on the puck to prevent another goal.
UConn headed into the third period with a 4-2 lead. Great defense by UConn was all the team needed to hold onto the win. Maine had very few scoring opportunities in the third period. Natalie Snodgrass scored an open net goal, her tenth of the year, to give UConn a 5-2 lead, which was the final score.
“It was a big performance for us this weekend” said Morgan Fisher, on the team’s performance over the past two games. Others felt the same way, like Catherine Crawley. “I thought the whole team collectively played with confidence. It was really good to see. It felt good to be able to play our game the entire game,” said Crawley.
UConn will take on Northeastern University and Providence this weekend.