The UConn women’s hockey team swept Holy Cross in their final best of two, home-and-away game series of the regular season, which occurred on Friday, Feb. 12 and Saturday, Feb. 13. These consecutive wins mean the Huskies improve to 8-9-1 (8-9-1 Hockey East), while the Crusaders fall to 3-14-0 (3-14-0 Hockey East).
UConn went into the contest having last defeated the University of Maine on Feb. 5. While their second best-of-two game series against the Black Bears was cut to only one match, it was clear that the momentum from that win traveled with them over the weekend.
Friday’s contest at the Mark Edward Freitas Ice Forum could best be described as a stalemate; the only real opportunity in the first period came in the opening minute, when defender Emily Reid was penalized for a hooking violation. However, Holy Cross were unable to cash in on this early opportunity. Whereas the Crusaders were gifted the momentum early on, UConn would snatch it back from them after the power-play opportunity. The Huskies were able to get 14 shots off in the first period, compared to Holy Cross’s seven. While none of them found the back of the net, it felt as if UConn was bound to get the opening goal.
Despite overwhelming the opposition, the Huskies struggled to find an end product; they outscored the Crusaders again in the second period, firing off 12 shots in comparison to their seven, but still were not able to get the puck past goaltender Jada Brenon. Then, near the period’s conclusion, Holy Cross defender Allison Attea was penalized for a roughing violation, which gave UConn a power-play opportunity going into the third period. However, once again, they were not able to cash in.
Finally, the breakthrough came in the third period, and it was none other than top goalscorer Savannah Bouzide. The puck came out to the forward off a face off, which she smashed into the net to finally break the deadlock. Still, the team was not out of the woods, as forward Amy Landry was called for a slashing violation, which gave Holy Cross a power-play opportunity in the seventh minute. Despite this dangerous situation for UConn, they were able to get out unscathed. A final power-play opportunity for the Huskies in the final stages of the third period came to no avail. The Huskies were able to hold on and get the 1-0 victory.
Saturday saw UConn travel to The Hart Center Rink in Massachusetts to finish off their best of two game series. This time, the Crusaders put up a fight, and made the Huskies earn the victory.
Forward Sofia Smithson got on the end of a pass by forward Katie MacCuaig to open up the scoring for the Crusaders eight minutes into the first period. The Huskies would have to wait until the opening minute of the second period to respond, with forward Viki Harkness finding fellow forward Jada Habsich to level it up at one. As if on cue, forward Danika Pasqua made it two, nine minutes after the opening goal; Bouzide and forward Morgan Wabick were able to combine before finding Pasqua, who slotted it into the net to make it 2-1 in favor of UConn.
Despite the Huskies’ emergence, Holy Cross would respond just before the end of the second period. Defender Vaia Graves and Forward Millie Sirum were able to find fellow forward Bryn Saarela, who slid it past goaltender Sam Carpentier-Yelle to make it all square at two a piece.
Entering the third period, it was truly anyone’s game. However, forward Natalie Snodgrass put an end to any doubt her team may have had, smashing home a pass from Harkness to give UConn a 3-2 lead. Then, seven minutes after the third, forward Camryn Wong and defender Claire Peterson were able to find Pasqua, who made it four to secure a victory for the Huskies.
Now, UConn gets set for the Hockey East Championship, with the first round set to begin on Wednesday, Feb. 24. Their opponent is yet to be determined, but a victory would secure them a place in the quarterfinals, which begin on Sunday, Feb. 28. Then come the semifinals, which are on Wednesday, Mar. 3, before the tournament’s conclusion with the championship game on Saturday, Mar. 6.