After a mixed weekend hosting the Nutmeg Classic, which saw it win one matchup and lose the next, the UConn women’s hockey team will look to end 2021 on a high note as it takes on the Holy Cross Crusaders in a home-and-home matchup this weekend. UConn defeated Sacred Heart soundly last Friday before falling in a tightly contested affair to Quinnipiac the following day, dropping the game 2-3.
Holy Cross has struggled this season, losing all but two of their games thus far, including a winless mark on the road, sitting at 0-10. The Crusaders’ two victories came against Franklin Pierce at home on Oct. 15, and against Boston University at home on Nov. 11. However, after losing their second matchup against BU and falling to Boston College, Holy Cross will look to prevent another skid when they take on UConn this weekend.
The Crusaders are led by Mary Edmonds and Darci Johal on the offensive end, who lead the team in points at marks of six and five, respectively. Both Johal and Edmonds have ties to Connecticut, with the former attending St. Thomas More, a prep school in Oakdale, while the latter is a Fairfield native. Edmonds is second on the team in assists at four, while Lily Feeney and Emilie Fortunato have the lead at five apiece. Brynn Saarela is the team leader in shots on goal at 42, with Edmunds, Feeney and Carlie Magier following closely behind.
On defense, Holy Cross is led by the team of Kailey Langefels, Emma Lange, and Vaia Graves, who each have notched at least 24 blocked shots to help keep the Crusaders’ opponents off the scoreboard as much as possible. The Connecticut ties are evident on the defensive third of the ice for Holy Cross as well, with Langefels, a senior from Goshen, making her homecoming this weekend as well.
In net, Jada Brenon anchored down the ice for her Crusader squad, starting 10 out of the 14 games which Holy Cross has played in so far. The senior from Pendleton, New York has saved 305 shots on the year, notching a save percentage just below 90%. Brenon has shared goalkeeping duties with Madison Beck, who has started in the other four games, saving 155 shots of her own in six total appearances, at a save percentage of about 92%. In both Holy Cross victories, Brenon and Beck have each recorded a shutout, successfully giving the offense chances to earn rare victories for the Crusaders.
The key for the Huskies is to strike early and often, avoiding the early goal deficit that put them behind for good against Quinnipiac and in their other losses this season. UConn will look to end their games in 2021 on a high note, which can carry over momentum into the new year, coming back from break to take on the Vermont Catamounts in a two game series.
UConn will welcome Holy Cross at 6:30 p.m. on Friday night at Freitas Ice Forum in Storrs, before hitting the road and traveling to Worcester, Massachusetts to face the Crusaders on Saturday at 1:00 p.m.