After an intense back-and-forth battle with Merrimack, the University of Connecticut women’s ice hockey team took home their seventh straight win to start the season, continuing their undefeated stretch.
UConn (7-0-0, 3-0-0 Hockey East) started the game out red-hot thanks to a very early power play granted by a foul on Merrimack’s Courtney Maud, who was sent to the penalty box for tripping. The Huskies really used being up a player to their advantage, only needing 20 seconds for Natalie Snodgrass to find the back of the net off of assists from Summer-Rae Dobson and Morgan Wabick. UConn benefited from three different power plays in the first period, firing off 23 shots over that span. Snodgrass’ was the only one to convert, however, and the score remained 1-0.
The Warriors (0-8-1, 0-4-1 Hockey East) came back with a vengeance. The team almost capitalized on a Gabby Jones shot blocked by UConn’s Samantha Carpentier-Yelle during a power play in the first period, and finally pushed through in the second. An interference call on Claire Peterson gave Merrimack a crucial power play, which was well taken advantage of by Dominika Laskova, providing the equalizer. Thankfully for the Huskies, this would be the last power play awarded to the Warriors.
The second period was easily the toughest for UConn, who not only let in the tying goal but couldn’t get much going offensively, shooting twice in the first 10 minutes of the period and getting outshot 9-4 by Merrimack overall in the second 10 minutes.
Whatever the Huskies couldn’t get going in the second, they certainly made up for in the third. The team came out of the gate with another first-minute goal, this one thanks to a slapshot from junior Ainsley Svetek. It looked evident that UConn would increase their lead to two soon after due to an eight-shot power play. Instead, it was the Warriors who took advantage, with Laskova scoring her second on the day just 20 seconds after the power play had ended for Connecticut. Suddenly, with less than 15 minutes to go, it was anyone’s game.
Each team had plenty of opportunities down the stretch, but a big save by Carpentier-Yelle with just under five minutes of play gave the Huskies a lot of momentum. The team went on a quick breakaway, Danielle Fox won a crucial faceoff and it was Dobson who was the heroine in crunch-time, netting the final goal of the day. The final score was 3-2 UConn.
This was the second matchup of the year between the Huskies and the Warriors, with Connecticut taking both games thus far in the season series. In the six-year history of the two squads facing off, UConn improves to 13-5-2, riding a four-game win streak.
They look to improve upon that all-time record next week, as the Huskies are slated to face Merrimack one last time. There is an old adage in sports that it is nearly impossible to beat a team three times in the same season, no matter how good or bad one team is, so Friday’s game at home is definitely worth watching. UConn will also be taking on Vermont on short rest the next evening.