After getting off to the best start in program history, the UConn women’s hockey team dealt with their first case of adversity last weekend, failing to pick up a win against the Maine Black Bears in a two-game series at home that saw the Huskies lose 1-0, and draw 4-4 against a team they were expected to take care of handedly. UConn had their fair share of chances to put one in the back of the net and notch an equalizer last Friday, outshooting Maine 29-8, but they failed to do so, getting shut out for only the second time this season. The offense woke up the next day and came back from several deficits. However, they ran out of time to pull ahead in a back-and-forth contest that handed UConn their first tie of the year. This weekend, the Huskies will look to bounce back, first at home against Providence, before hitting the road to take on Northeastern Saturday afternoon.
The Friars have had a mediocre season thus far, sporting a record of 4-4-3, and 3-3-1 in conference play. Providence had a grueling two-game set with Boston College this past weekend, protecting home ice with a 2-1 win before falling in overtime to the Eagles by the same score. The Friars are led by a couple of star sophomores on both ends of the ice. Lindsay Bochna leads Providence in goals with four thus far, as well as in shots with 45. Bochna is also tied with Brooke Becker in points with seven. Becker, who leads the squad with five assists, is a part of a defensive unit that has blocked 143 shots thus far. The sophomore from Orchard Park, New York is aided by Claire Tyo and Lauren DeBlois, two of seven members of the Friars that have recorded double digits in blocked shots. Hayley Lunny and Hunter Barnett have helped the offensive attack for Providence, with both forwards tied for the individual game high in goals scored, with the latter’s effort coming last weekend against BC.
On the defensive side of the ice, the Friars are anchored by Sandra Abstreiter, a graduate student from Germany who has started eight of the eleven games for Providence in net. Abstreiter has notched 234 saves on the season, sporting a .944 save percentage overall. The Friars have had a couple of starts with Mirellie Kingsley, who has done well in her limited opportunities, going 2-1 and saving 98 shots.
The next opponent for UConn is Northeastern, a team which has experienced a similar amount of success this season. Both teams have a 10-2-1 record, not losing a game since Oct. 9 against aforementioned Providence. Last weekend, the Boston-based Huskies swept a two-game road series against Vermont, out-scoring the Catamounts 6-1 in their two meetings. Northeastern is different from Providence in terms of their point leaders, with the experienced duo of Maureen Murphy and Skylar Fontaine the only skaters on the team to notch double-digit point totals. Murphy, the senior from Buffalo, has scored a whopping 11 goals for her Husky squad, including a dazzling four goal performance against St. Anselm. Fontaine has done her damage in the assists category, leading the team with 11 dimes on the year. The graduate student defender from Rhode Island also leads Northeastern in blocked shots with 28, a significant percentage of the team total of 134. The veteran presence is loaded for the Huskies, with Maddie Mills and Chloé Aurard following closely behind in points and nearing the double-digit mark. Megan Carter and Brooke Hobson help anchor the defense, aiding goalkeeper Aerin Frankel. The grad student from Briarcliff Manor, New York has dazzled in net, only allowing eight goals and notching 236 saves, a .967 save percentage overall. Frankel has four shutouts on the year, a big part of Northeastern’s commanding start to the season.
UConn will look to bounce back Friday night at 6 p.m. at Freitas Ice Forum in Storrs, before engaging in the battle of the Huskies in Boston on Saturday afternoon, a quick turnaround to help the team recover from a disappointing last couple of games.