The University of Connecticut women’s hockey team will put its undefeated start to the season on the line as it squares off against two different Hockey East opponents this Halloween weekend.
The Huskies have been so hot offensively they may just melt the ice. Through seven games, they are averaging 3.4 goals per game and 37.6 shots per game. Their 24 goals on the season are currently tied with fellow Hockey East members Boston University and Clarkson University for ninth in the nation, while their goals-per-game is also tied for ninth with BU.
That hot offense is being led by senior Viki Harkness, who leads the team with five goals and two assists. Although four of those goals came against RIT, she has gotten off to a hot start and will look to continue finding the back of the net this weekend.
Harkness’ seven points are tied for the team lead with captain Natalie Snodgrass, who has three goals and four assists. Together, these two finish up opportunities and take all the big shots while each averaging one point per game.
Senior Danielle Fox (three goals and two assists) and graduate student Morgan Wabick (one goal and four assists) have also had impressive starts thus far. Both forwards have five points and have gotten several great chances from all over the ice with a combined 49 shots.
Graduate student Summer-Rae Dobson has been a great pickup from the transfer portal with three goals and one assist in seven games thus far. Junior Coryn Tormala (three goals and one assist), graduate student Taylor Wabick (one goal and three assists) and junior Amy Landry (no goals and four assists) have been key contributors to the Huskies’ offense as well.
In addition to Wabick defensively, juniors Claire Peterson (one goal and two assists) and Ainsley Svetek (one goal and one assist) have been essential pieces to the Huskies’ blue line, while providing the big hits to prevent their opposition from scoring.
Behind the crease, it has been both senior Samantha Carpentier-Yelle and freshman Megan Warrener. Carpentier-Yelle is 5-0 while making 84 saves and posting a 1.8 GAA. Warrener has played in five games and has made 37 saves while having a 1.0 GAA.
Today, the Huskies (7-0-0, 3-0-0 Hockey East) face a familiar foe in the Merrimack Warriors, whom they will look to defeat for a third consecutive time. The Huskies have outscored the Warriors 8-5 in their previous two meetings this season.
Merrimack (0-8-1, 0-2-0 Hockey East) is coming off a 2-1 loss to Vermont this past Sunday. As a team, the Warriors are scoring just 1.6 goals per game while letting their opponents score 4.1 a game.
Out of the 14 goals the Warriors have, nine of them come from three offensive players: graduate student Dominika Laskova, junior Katie Kaufman and junior Teghan Inglis. The only thing separating all three of them in terms of their dominance is their point totals. Laskova leads the team with six points as she has three assists, Kaufman has two and Inglis has one.
Graduate student Courtney Maud is someone else to look out for on the Warriors’ offense. She knows how to contribute, as she has two assists and one goal for a total of three points — good enough for fourth on the team. Finally, there’s junior Madison Oelkers, who has one goal and one assist on 18 shots. Like members of the Huskies, Oelkers knows how to contribute, thanks largely in part to her shot total being fourth on the team.
Most of the goaltending duties fall to junior Emma Gorski, who has started all but one game and has a GAA of 3.70. Do not let that number fool you; she has made a conference-leading 219 saves and can limit offenses when she is in the zone.
Tomorrow, the Huskies stay in Connecticut and take on the Vermont Catamounts (4-2-0, 2-0-0 Hockey East), who are coming off a 2-1 victory against Merrimack. The Catamounts are averaging 2.33 goals a game and have also allowed an average of 2.33 goals a game.
Their star player throughout those six games has been sophomore Natalie Mlynkova. She leads the team in goals (four) and assists (three) and is looking to make a name for herself as a franchise player for the next three seasons. She has also been a major threat on the special teams, as she has a power play goal and a shorty as two of her three goals.
Next up is senior Corinne McCool, who is second on the team with four points. Her 23 shots are also second on the team, and she has been a big contributor to the Catamounts’ offense so far.
Additionally, the talents of graduate student Kristina Shanahan (two goals and one assist), senior Sini Karjalainen (one goal and two assists), junior Lily Humphrey (one goal and two assists) and senior Maude Poulin-Labelle (zero goals, three assists) have contributed greatly to the offense.
Last year, the Catamounts had Rookie of the Year goaltender Jessie McPherson dominating behind the crease. She has played in one game thus far and made a total of five saves while allowing two goals. Instead, the show has been run by senior Blanka Skodova. She has made 94 saves and possesses a GAA of just 2.05. Vermont plays Boston University the night before, but it is very possible Skodova plays both games this weekend, so the Huskies’ offense should be prepared to send the pack in her direction.
The Huskies face off with the Warriors tonight at 6 p.m. EDT and then play the Catamounts Saturday at 4 p.m. EDT, with both games taking place at the Mark Edward Freitas Ice Forum. Both games can be accessed on SportsLive, with live stats provided by StatBroadcast.