The University of Connecticut women’s hockey team, fresh off a statement sweep of the Boston University Terriers, returns to Storrs tonight for a non-conference game against the Brown University Bears.
The Huskies (10-1-0, 6-1-0 Hockey East) continually find ways to win as they are off to their best start in program history. Their 17 points in conference play currently puts them in second in the Hockey East behind No. 5 Northeastern, who has 23 points.
The Huskies average 2.6 goals per game and 35.9 shots per game. The biggest contributors to that offensive stretch are senior Danielle Fox and captain Natalie Snodgrass. Fox would pick up the assist in Friday’s victory against BU while Snodgrass had the game-winning goal in Saturday’s contest. In addition to having four goals each, Snodgrass and Fox also both lead the team in shots as Snodgrass has 56 and Fox has 43.
Not far behind them are senior Viki Harkness and graduate student Morgan Wabick. Harkness has five goals and two assists while Wabick has vice versa with two goals and five assists. Wabick, Harkness and graduate student Summer-Rae Dobson (four goals and one assist) have had incredible starts to the season and will look to continue to bring the heat on the ice.
If there’s any wildcard to look out for in tonight’s matchup, it is sophomore Jada Habisch. Habisch picked up a goal against BU and is starting to heat up and regain her freshman form when she finished third on the team with 11 points. If she has a breakout game, then there is a great chance people will be talking about UConn’s dominant top six for weeks on end.
As one could tell from the point totals so far, this team knows how to pass the puck around. They currently have 45 assists to their name, good enough for No. 15 in the nation and third in the Hockey East. Responsible for one out of every five assists is Hockey East Defensive Player of the Week Taylor Wabick. Wabick picked up assists on both goals in Friday’s clash, including an assist to her sister for the game-deciding goal.
Behind the crease, the tag team of freshman Megan Warrener and senior Samantha Carpentier-Yelle held down the fort and limited the potent Terrier offense to just one goal in two games. Carpentier-Yelle’s 1.56 GAA currently ranks second in the conference behind Northeastern goaltender Aerin Frankel, so good luck trying to get anything past her. Warrener still has that .949 save percentage and 1.00 GAA to her name, but with a four-game stretch coming up, she may see some strong offense from solid Hockey East competition.
Brown (0-4-2, 0-3-1 ECAC) went 0-1-1 over the weekend as they lost to No. 4 Colgate (7-1) and then ended their four-game losing streak by tying a Cornell team that was receiving votes (3-3). Brown currently scores 2.2 goals per game but allows 4.2 goals per game while getting outshot 37.0-20.7 on average.
Leading the way for Bears is freshman Anna Hurd, who currently has three goals and three assists for six points. Her point-per-game clip is impressive, and those numbers can only go up as the season and her collegiate career continue.
While she collects the points, senior Shay Maloney collects the shots. Her 23 shots lead the team by a wide margin and her five points put her in second behind Hurd. Her shot opportunities are quietly converting into points and she has been taking full advantage of every opportunity she gets.
The rest of the forward group is rounded out by sophomore Madie Stockfish and freshman Anna Shelden. Both players have 12 shots with Stockfish collecting three points and Shelden collecting two. Together, this offense knows how to quietly sneak a goal by, and like the rest of the Huskies’ competition this season, the Bears’ offense should not be taken for granted.
Leading the way on defense is freshman Cameron Sikich, who has four assists for four points (try saying that four times fast). She plays a very physical game and knows how to be on the ice at the right time as her +3 point differential also leads the team. She is joined on the blue line by sophomore Cassidy Piersak, who has two assists of her own. She knows how to put her body on the line as she has a team-leading 13 blocks.
The Bears have two starters that are used on a game-by-game basis. They are sophomore Kaley Doyle and senior Hayley Kliczko. Kliczko has made most of the starts with a 5.47 GAA and .862 save percentage. She’s made 100 saves, but one of the reasons her numbers are so high is because she has conceded four or more goals in games against very good teams like Penn St., Colgate and No. 8 Quinnipiac.
Then there’s Doyle and her .921 save percentage that ranks within the top 10 in the ECAC — not a bad start to her collegiate career. Doyle has started two games and has made 82 saves in four appearances thus far. In addition to those two, freshman Grace Kedziora has been getting some playing time and has limited herself to a 2.16 GAA with a .938 save percentage to boot.
Both teams are evenly matched when it comes to power play as Brown has scored five times on 23 tries while the Huskies have converted six of their 33 power plays. This is a major x-factor to look out for because whoever can control their power play better will likely walk out of this midweek affair with the victory.
The showdown will commence tonight 6:30 p.m. EST from the Mark Edward Freitas Ice Forum with live streaming access provided by SportsLive and live stats from StatBroadcast.