UConn was unable to keep up their momentum from earlier series in the Women’s Hockey East Tournament in a 9-1 loss to Northeastern.
Not much went right for UConn (19-18-2) in the championship game against Northeastern. UConn came into this game off a dominant 4-0 win over the University of New Hampshire. While the odds were certainly stacked against them, with the way they had been playing recently there was still a chance that UConn could pull off the upset over Northeastern.
Northeastern (32-4-2) finished in first place in Women’s Hockey East this season. They went an incredible 24-3-0 against other teams in the conference. UConn did not have much success against them in the regular season, dropping all three matchups against them. UConn was unable to score in the first two matchups and lost in overtime in their third meeting.
UConn has played their absolute best when they score in first period. Of UConn’s 19 wins this season, they scored at least once in the first period in 13 of those games. UConn was going to not only have to score early, they needed to score often as well.
UConn was going to have its hands full on defense all game long. Northeastern finished the season with the best offense in the conference, finishing the year with 149 goals. Boston College finished second in the conference with 109 goals scored, while UConn finished fifth. UConn was never going to stop Northeastern’s offense. They were going to have to try to slow it down and not put up a crooked number early so they could give the offense a chance to keep the game close.
The game did not start off in UConn’s favor. Northeastern scored first a little over six minutes into the game to take an early 1-0 lead. The goal was scored by Skylar Fontaine. Eight minutes later they struck again, taking a 2-0 lead. Northeastern’s second goal was scored by Jess Schryver.
UConn had to score soon, or the game could quickly have gotten out of hand for them. They rose to the challenge, scoring a goal late in the first to cut the lead to 2-1. Northeastern would bump their lead back up to two when they scored their third goal of the period, and they now had a 3-1 lead going into the second period.
Starting the second period UConn found themself with their backs against the wall once again this postseason. UConn has come up with some huge performances in do-or-die games during this tournament. UConn beat BC in game two of the quarterfinals to force a game three, which they would win after scoring twice in the third period. UConn shut down New Hampshire last week, 4-0, in another do or die game. Would the Huskies be able to pull off yet another impressive performance to make this game competitive.
Unfortunately for them, that would not be the case. Northeastern scored their fourth goal of the game not even a minute into the first period, taking a 4-1 lead. UConn held them scoreless for the rest of the period, but Northeastern repaid the favor by holding UConn scoreless in the third period.
UConn had 20 minutes remaining to either tie the game or take the lead, improbable but not impossible at this point. They were going to need everything to break their way to pull off a comeback.
Their hopes were quickly dashed when Northeastern scored 30 seconds into the third period. This goal, scored by Chloe Aurard, proved to be the proverbial dagger, and it effectively sealed Northeastern’s victory. They would score another four goals in the period, while UConn went scoreless, leading to Northeastern winning the Women’s Hockey East Championship 9-1.
While this loss will hurt for a long time for the Huskies, there is a lot to be happy about as well. UConn avenged their tournament losses against BC last season by winning the quarterfinals against them in dramatic fashion this year. Also, even though UConn lost the championship game, it is still an incredible accomplishment just to make it to this point and that should not be taken lightly. Now it’s on to figuring out what they need to do to improve for next season to get back to the championship game.