The UConn women’s hockey team is set to take on the RIT Tigers at the Gene Polisseni Center on Friday, Oct. 8 at 6 p.m., and Saturday, Oct. 9 at 2 p.m. The Huskies (2-0-0, 0-0-0 Big East) will look to replicate the form that saw them sweep the Long Island University Sharks in their first series of the season. On the other hand, the Tigers (0-5-0, 0-0-0 Big East) will be desperate for a win, as they’ve lost their opening five matches of the season.
This will be the second time both schools meet each other in women’s hockey, with RIT leading the all-time series 1-0-0. The Huskies enter the contest No. 9 in Hockey East, while the Tigers sit last in the College Hockey America table.
RIT head coach Celeste Brown continues to look for a winning formula that has yet to reveal itself.
The Tigers’ greatest margin of defeat came on Saturday, Sept. 25 when they lost to Colgate University with a scoreline of 0-13. Opponents have regularly put four or more goals past a squad that seems to have a fargile defense, which can most definitely be exploited by UConn forwards Kate Klassen and Morgan Wabick, both of whom have contributed to two of the Huskies’ 15 total points this season.
Klassen has a goal and an assist to her name, while Wabick has two assists on the season. Right behind them is forward Summer-Rae Dobson, who found the back of the net against LIU to get her first goal of the season. Forwards Amy Landry and Natalie Snodgrass each have a goal to their name this year as well.
These attackers proved deadly in the Huskies home opener, and might just have their way against the Tigers if they move the puck as effectively as they did against the Sharks.
While RIT has not had the greatest start to the season, it doesn’t mean it should be immediately ruled out of the contest. Even in defeat, the Tigers have demonstrated they can find the back of the net more than once. This was demonstrated against Mercyhurst on Sunday, Sept. 19 when they put three goals past the Lakers goaltender, and against Union on Friday, Oct. 1 nnwhen they scored an impressive four goals.
The Tigers attack is led by forwards Lindsay Maloney, Emma Roland and Megan McCormick. Maloney has two goals and two assists on the season, while Roland has found the back of the net three times. Finally, McCormick has two goals and one assist in the five games she’s played.
The Husky defense needs to be on its toes against a strikeforce that fires at will. Moreover, goaltender Samantha Carpenter-Yelle will most certainly be called upon at some point in the match, and will need to make herself big to prevent the forward trio from putting the Tigers on the board.
Overall, UConn will need to assert itself from the offset, not just against RIT, but against any team it goes up against. This was emphasized by MacKenzie after the squad’s victory against LIU.
“We need to treat this entire year like it’s the playoffs, and try to have a better regular season that sets us up for an NCAA bid at the end of the year,” he told UCTV Sports.
UConn will need that fire and intensity against a hungry Tiger squad, who will have their fans behind them. Anything other than discipline up front and in the back on the part of the Huskies, and they will most certainly suffer their first defeat of the season.