After sweeping a two-game series against Boston College last weekend, UConn will face off against UNH in two home games on Monday and Tuesday. The games were initially scheduled for Jan. 21 and 22, but the Hockey East conference made a late change that moved the contests to the weekdays.
UConn enters Monday with 10 games remaining in the season, all of which will be against Hockey East opponents. Among these teams are UNH and Providence, whom the Huskies have not faced this season, Boston College and Boston University, whom UConn has yet to lose to this season and finally Northeastern, who emerged victorious against UConn in their sole meeting.
UConn currently sits at third in the Hockey East conference, and if they want a chance of catching UVM and Northeastern, besting UNH in the three games the two teams have left against each other is crucial.
With a record of 6-8-1 in conference play, UNH is not poised to take a top spot in the Hockey East this season, but this does not mean they cannot play spoiler to a team like UConn. Earlier this season, the Wildcats won a decisive 5-2 game against Vermont, the team currently right above the Huskies in the standings.
In conference play, UConn’s three top goal scorers have been forwards Summer-Rae Dobson, Viki Harkness and Natalie Snodgrass, with nine, eight and seven goals respectively. All three scored against BC last week, with Snodgrass netting her second of the weekend to win it for the Huskies in overtime on Saturday.
In goal, last weekend saw the return of UConn goaltender Samantha Carpentier-Yelle, who had not played since the Nutmeg Classic at the end of November. Carpentier-Yelle has a .916 save percentage on the season in conference play, and recorded her third shutout of the year in her first game back, before allowing three goals in Saturday’s overtime win.
For the away team’s offense, forward Kira Juodikis leads the team with 10 goals on the season, six higher than the second highest scorer in conference play.
As for Wildcat goaltenders, Ava Boutilier has played the majority of minutes for UNH this year, but Nicky Harnett was in goal for the Jan. 7 and 8 sweep of Providence. Boutilier has a .910 save percentage in conference play, while Harnett has a .935.
An important factor to note going into this series is that going into Monday, UNH will have had over two full weeks since their last game was played. After sweeping Providence, a two-game series against Northeastern that was scheduled for last weekend was postponed, and the two day postponement of this series only adds to that long drought. UConn will still have to deal with the short postponement of this series, but the disruption is not as severe.
All the action will go down at the Mark Edward Freitas Ice Forum in Storrs, starting Monday, Jan. 24 at 7 p.m., with Tuesday’s game at 5 p.m.