Women’s Hockey Preview: Huskies look to tame Terriers

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In this 2019 file photo, the UConn women’s hockey team was unable to permeate Boston University’s strong defense and goaltending. (Photo by Eric Wang/The Daily Campus)

The UConn women’s hockey team is set to face off against the No. 10 Boston University Terriers in a game currently designated as a “non-conference” matchup on Friday, Dec. 11 at 6 p.m. at the Mark Edward Freitas Ice Forum in Storrs.

The Huskies go into the contest at 0-3-1, while the Terriers stand at 1-1. The Huskies are coming off a disappointing week, having been swept by the No. 9 Boston College Eagles in a two-game series that took place on Dec. 4 and 5. While the team will be confident in their ability to bounce back on Friday, their head-to-head record against the Terriers has not been all that great. Notably, the Huskies have lost their previous five outings against BU, scoring more than one goal only once in all five of their recent matchups dating back to 2018-19.

In addition, their head-to-head record against the Terriers is 11-29-7. Although this may be true, without context, this record against head coach Brian Durocher’s squad looks worse than it actually is. Notably, from 2010 to 2015, the Terriers won five Hockey East Championships and made six consecutive NCAA tournament appearances. Another key point is that Durocher has spent the past 15 years at Boston University in comparison to Husky head coach Chris MacKenzie’s eight years at Storrs. As can be seen, it’s not like UConn is struggling against sub-par competition; the Terriers are an extremely competitive team that have had more time to develop a culture under a long-standing manager.

Nonetheless, a Husky victory is more than possible. Savannah Bouzide has proven she is more than capable of leading the line, having scored five goals in the past four games. However, she cannot do it alone, and is going to need support from her teammates if they wish to defeat this star-studded Terrier roster.

Specifically, the team will need to show up early and not be inconsistent, as the reality is that help has been there, but it has been unreliable. Jada Habisch and Viki Harkness have proven themselves to be effective at putting others in goal-scoring positions, with each attaining two assists this season. Furthermore, they aren’t afraid to take a shot on net, with Harkness attempting 10 shots in comparison to Habisch’s six. Both will need to test the goaltender early to see what she’s made of, and pressure not only her, but the defense as a whole. Additionally, Claire Peterson will be looked towards; with two assists and ten shots this season, she has proven she can be a difference maker when called upon.

On the negative side, the point differential between the two sides is quite large, in large part due to the fact that not many Huskies have been able to get goals. Bouzide leads the point total with five, followed by Habisch, Harkness, and Peterson who are all joint-tied for second with two points, and a five-person tie for third that includes Kate Klassen, Danika Pasqua, Emily Reid, Taylor Wabick, and Camryn Wong. In particular, these five players clearly demonstrate that there have been flashes of what each player can bring to the table; now it’s just a matter of applying it when it matters most.

Overall, the Terriers have 40 points in comparison to UConn’s 16. Moreover, they have 25 assists in comparison to the Huskies’ nine, and 15 goals in comparison to the Huskies’ seven.

Uniquely, UConn’s best stretch of play came in their loss against Boston College last weekend, attaining a season high in points with six, goals with three, assists with three (joint-tie with the Providence match) and shots with 39. We explicitly see that the team is beginning to find a rhythm, which has no doubt been difficult due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to multiple cancellations. Now, MacKenzie’s team will need to replicate — or even exceed — these numbers on Friday if they wish to have any chance of defeating this fiery BU squad.

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