After two weeks of patiently waiting, UConn women’s hockey is back in a two-day, home-and-home series against the Boston College Eagles.
Initially scheduled to play the University of Maine last week but postponed due to COVID-19 concerns, UConn (0-1-1, 0-0-0 Hockey East) looks to get back into action after “splitting” Providence in an impromptu home-and-home series where Providence won the first game and UConn won the other in a shootout two weekends ago. These games did not count towards conference standings, but this weekend’s series does.
This should be an interesting rematch from last season, when the teams squared off in the quarterfinals and the Huskies won two games to one — the exact same result that reflected their regular season head-to-head record.
The Eagles (2-2-0, 2-0-0 Hockey East) are led by their three captains Cayla Barnes, Maegan Beres and Kelly Browne. With Barnes and Browne being juniors and Beres being a senior, the Eagles have some incredible leadership on their side.
Beres has yet to miss a game after three years and is looking to improve off a four-goal campaign last season. As of right now, she has one goal and one point. Both she and Willow Corson will be playing their 16th and 17th games against UConn in their careers this weekend — more than any other opponent in their four years.
Barnes was a player of the year finalist last season as a redshirt sophomore and was named a Second Team All-Star as well. She managed six goals and 17 assists for a total of 23 points. In addition, she also captains the U-22 U.S. team. After four games, Barnes has just one assist for one point.
Browne meanwhile had 13 goals and 23 assists for 36 points last season while winning 451 faceoffs. Her 451 wins led the conference and were fourth in the nation. This season, Browne has one goal and five assists for six points, winning just six faceoffs on 14 tries.
UConn in two games has just three goals while Boston College in four games has 14, surrendering just nine compared to UConn’s seven goals against.
The Eagles love to score and currently have six different skaters who have scored and 12 players who have a point overall — the first time the Eagles have done that since 2014-15 and 2015-16 respectively.
In addition to their plethora of scoring options, Boston College enjoys shooting the puck from virtually anywhere in their attacking zone. Through four games, Boston College has shot an average of 33 shots on goal per game for a total of 138 compared to their opponent’s 97.
Hannah Blinka’s 11 against New Hampshire in their second matchup is the current single game record. UConn currently has taken 57 shots while surrendering 70 in their weekend series against Providence. Those numbers will need to change if UConn has any shot at winning in the offensive zone against the Eagles.
UConn is currently 2-for-9 on the power play; however, Boston College has killed 11 of 14 power plays so far this season. At the same time, Boston College is 1-for-10 on the power play while UConn is 3-for-5 on the penalty kill.
I wanted to take a moment to point out the freshmen on each side as well. Boston College has gotten production from Gaby Roy, who scored two assists last weekend to extend her point streak to four games and earned Hockey East Rookie of the Week recognition.
In addition, Roy also scored four goals against New Hampshire in the first game of her collegiate career, leading her to take home Player of the Week. Roy also just added a National Player of the Month award to her budding credentials. Through four games, Roy is proving herself as a possible Rookie of the Year and MVP candidate, and her seven points is something that UConn should look out for when defending in the zone.
Boston College also has six other freshmen from Olivia O’Brien (one assist) to Caroline Goffredo (two assists) who are leading the way for the Eagles to succeed in the future.
As for UConn, they have young freshmen such as defensemen Alexandra Anne-Boyer, forward Kathryn Stockdale and forward Kate Klassen, among others.
But the most notable rookie performance so far must be from goaltender Tia Chan, who started the second game against Providence after Samantha Carpenter-Yelle surrendered six goals. Chan proceeded to surrender a single goal on 34 shots, making enough highlights to keep the game tied throughout the second, third and overtime periods.
She will go up against three options for Boston College from Kelly Pickreign to Maddy McArthur to Abigail Levy, all of whom have started a game. Look for Boston College to rely on two of the three goalies for this weekend’s series with one starting each game.
There is no news in terms of injuries yet, but there might be healthy scratches on either gameday.
While UConn did not play last weekend, Boston College went up against Providence and lost both games 3-2. UConn will look to make the all-time series against Boston College 21-38-10 this weekend.
UConn stays in Storrs at the Freitas Ice Forum to take on the Eagles on Friday at 6:00 p.m. before heading to the Kelly Rink the next day in Boston with face-off moved to 2:00 p.m. Both games will be available via NESN+ and live streamed from CBS powered by SportsLive.