The UConn women’s hockey team gets set for a challenging home-and-away, two-game series against the No. 7 Boston College Eagles on Saturday, Jan. 30 and Sunday, Jan. 31. Both games are at 3 p.m.
It’s safe to say that Boston College (10-3-0 Hockey East) is well and truly flying high; not only do they have a .769 winning percentage at the midway point of the season, but they’re also riding a six-game winning streak, with their last loss from early December. On the other hand, the Huskies (5-7-1 Hockey East) are coming off a respectable loss to nationally ranked Northeastern, who were only able to score twice against a UConn defense that was quite solid.
Nonetheless, head coach Chris MacKenzie will definitely feel hard done by a result that could have gone UConn’s way last week. Lack of discipline and an inability to put away chances were the two main reasons this talented Husky side lost last weekend; the good thing is that these issues can be easily fixed. The team must make sure they do not commit needless penalties as they did against Northeastern and must take their chances in the final third if they wish to beat the powerhouse that is Boston College.
Most importantly, power play opportunities have not been taken advantage of by the Huskies this season. The team’s conversion percentage in these situations is a mere .154, while opponents have a .192 conversion percentage. All in all, UConn must improve on punishing the opposition when they find themselves with this numerical advantage.
If they are to break down mighty Boston College, they’ll need their star players to step up. Forward Savannah Bouzide is the leading goal scorer for the team, and she will need to continue being clinical in the final third. Fellow forward Viki Harkness leads the team with six assists, and she will need to continue her excellent distribution of the puck in order to break down the stubborn Eagle defense. Also, we cannot forget about forwards Jada Habisch and Natalie Snodgrass, who each have three goals and four assists; Snodgrass has come up big for the Huskies this season, and is no stranger to the bright lights, while Habisch seems to always find herself in the right place, at the right time.
Equally important for UConn is the need to limit Boston College’s attack, which has stifled opponents all season. This blitzkrieg of an offense sees the Eagles take 33.5 shots per game, in comparison to their opponents, who take 28.3. Most noteworthy is their shot percentage, which stands at .099; their opponents, on the other hand, are a ways away, with a .071 percentage. Finally, they have scored a total of 43 goals this season, nearly double the amount the Huskies have on the year.
Overall, UConn will need to have a near perfect game if they wish to beat one of the best teams in the country.
Forward Kelly Browne leads Boston College in the assists department with 10, along with five goals on the season. Fellow forward Savannah Norcross is the top goal scorer with seven goals, and she has seven assists as well. Despite Hadley Hartmetz serving as a defender, she has been able to get 11 assists on the year, which demonstrates how efficient this offense is at building from back to front in mere seconds.
Overall, UConn will need to have a near perfect game if they wish to beat one of the best teams in the country. The Huskies must focus on being clinical in front of goal and need to stay disciplined throughout all three periods. Anything less, and we’ll see a repeat of last weekend.