The UConn women’s ice hockey team was in the midst of a scoring slump to remember, and now it’s finally over. Coming into their back-to-back home games against Maine this weekend, the Huskies had been shut out in three consecutive games. However, in the span of 24 hours they managed to change the narrative. The home team was able to score seven goals (two Friday, five Saturday) while allowing only three total in their back-to-back wins this weekend against Maine. Though the offensive numbers stand out, the team believes it was their defense and commitment to playing the right way that led to their change in fortune.
When asked what he felt was the biggest difference in his team’s play this weekend versus during their three-game losing streak, head coach Chris MacKenzie said with a smile, “We scored. That’s an improvement.”
MacKenzie added that he believes they were successful this weekend because they dug in and stuck to their game plan: Play fast with the puck and limit the high-scoring opportunities for the opponent. He described Saturday afternoon’s win as a “really sound defensive game” and added that his message to the team has been “we’ve been playing well, just don’t get discouraged. Keep shooting the puck.”
Like MacKenzie, the players also felt that it was their commitment to the game plan that resulted in a successful weekend. After the back-to-back wins, the team’s leading scorer, Catherine Crawley said “the whole team collectively played with confidence. I thought we were moving and moving the puck real fast as well as our feet. It just felt really good to connect and play our game. We always stuck to the process and enjoyed the process. We never veered away from what we wanted to do. Bounces are eventually going to go your way if you continue to play your game.”
Goalie Morgan Fisher certainly noticed and appreciated the team’s stellar play in front of her as she turned aside 14 of the 16 shots she faced. After Saturday’s game, she said their 5-2 victory “was the most cohesive [and] put together I’ve seen [all season].”
In the end though, the hockey season is about collecting wins and they added two more to improve their record to 14-11-1 on the season. “It was a big four points,” Fisher said. The Huskies are now looking to keep the momentum building through the home-stretch of the season.