In an impromptu rematch with the No. 8 Boston College Eagles, the UConn Huskies came to play, but lost in overtime 2-1 at the Kelley Rink.
Despite the negative outcome, the Huskies (5-6-1, 19 points) got a career performance from freshman goaltender Tia Chan, a strong candidate for rookie of the year.
Chan was able to limit the Eagles’ high-powered offense (10-3-0, 29 points) on all but two occasions as she saved a career-high 40 shots on goal on 42 tries. In the process, she made some marvelous saves that prevented the game from getting out of hand.
Having just found out about this matchup the day before, the Huskies had to be on their paws, and they were almost instantly. Eight minutes in, Chan made sure the Eagles could not draw first blood as she saved two shots while the Eagles were attacking the zone.
Almost 15 minutes into the contest, Viki Harkness took a pass from Savannah Bouzide that she had just sent to her and shot it into the back of the net, which gave the Huskies a 1-0 advantage. For Harkness, it was her third goal of the season and her fifth against the Eagles in her three-year career while Bouzide earned her 10th point of the season on the assist.
In the second period, the script did not change much. After killing off a penalty five minutes into the period, the Eagles had an opportunity to tie the game about halfway through, but despite the barrage of skaters in front of her, Chan denied entry to the puck before the Huskies managed to take it out of the zone.
Five minutes later, the Eagles had another chance to equalize the affair, as both Alexie Guay and Willow Corson tried to find the twine, but Chan said no to either shot, rearing up like a lion to deflect one away.
In the third period, things got interesting as Cayla Barnes tried to sneak one past Chan’s brick wall, but Chan read that puck like an eagle and swooped it away and into her glove.
But nothing good lasts forever as about a minute later, Hannah Bilka finally found the net as she finished off a good connection from Barnes in the offensive zone that somehow got past Chan. Her goal extended her point streak to six games.
Kelly Browne had the chance to be the hero, hitting a slapshot with three minutes left in the game, but Chan was right there to prevent that puck from accessing the back of the net.
Before the overtime period commenced, Morgan Wabick had a chance to be the hero as she intercepted a pass from Guay in the area behind the net, but her wraparound was read the entire way and Abigail Levy prevented the breach from being successful.
So that series of events led to the overtime period that transpired in Massachusetts, the first experience in the extra period for the Eagles this season.
Less than a minute into the overtime, the Eagles had a four-on-one chance to end the contest early, but Chan denied shots from both Bilka and Caroline Goffredo. This included an incredible lunge by Chan that extended the game.
Less than two minutes later however, Jillian Fey scored a backhanded shot on a breakaway after a turnover at mid-ice by Guay that gave the Eagles a 2-1 victory. This was her third game winning goal of the season, but the first to end a game. Guay’s assist extended her point streak to five games.
With the win, the Eagles have now won six consecutive games and are undefeated in 2021.
This result modified the standings slightly; the Huskies remained in fourth place, but the Eagles jumped the Providence Friars and moved into first place in the conference. With the win, the Eagles now lead the all-time series 41-19-10 and will look to maintain their lead heading into the final six weeks for the season.
As for the Huskies, they know what they do to maintain their position in the conference and at least secure a “home-ice” advantage for the first round. Since every team will qualify for the playoffs this season, the Huskies can finish between first and fifth to gain this advantage.
Because of the Hockey East’s decision to do the matchups on a week-to-week basis, the Huskies will not know who their next opponent is until midweek, so stay tuned.