Looking to keep the momentum going after a weekend sweep against Boston College, the UConn women’s hockey team battled against the University of New Hampshire in a two game series at home. The Wildcats were coming off a sweep of their own against Providence, with hopes to kickstart momentum after losing 12 of their first 22 games.
The Huskies struggled to convert on an early power play opportunity, despite putting five shots on net, with Danielle Fox, Morgan Wabick and Claire Peterson all putting pressure on Wildcat goalkeeper Nicky Harnett. On the offensive end, New Hampshire did not have the same amount of opportunities to grab the early advantage, with only one shot on goal from Paige Rynne that was turned away by UConn goalkeeper Samantha Carpentier-Yelle. A minute after the power play’s conclusion, last weekend’s hero, Natalie Snodgrass, put through a feed from Summer-Rae Dobson and Chloe Gonsalves for her ninth goal of the season. The Wildcats had a handful of chances to even up the score before the end of the first period, but Carpentier-Yelle was strong in net, turning away two Kira Juodikis shots before New Hampshire was forced to kill another power play, looking to keep the game within reach.
However, the Huskies’ early power play struggles quickly became a thing of the past, as UConn added to their lead, aided by a Shea Verrier hooking penalty that saw Taylor Wabick cash in the extra attack for her third goal of the year, padding a lead that the Huskies would not relinquish. UConn came out dominating early on, outshooting the visiting Wildcats 15-4 in the opening period. They went into the first intermission leading 2-0.
Throughout the second period, New Hampshire looked to build a comeback, with opportunities coming from Brooke Hammer and Kyla Bent that forced Carpentier-Yelle to stay on her toes to keep the Wildcats off the board. It wasn’t until Juodikis converted an opportunity set up by Nicole Kelly and Marina Alvarez that cut the UConn lead in half, beating the UConn goalkeeper for her eleventh goal of the season. Both teams had power play opportunities in the closing minutes of the second period but failed to convert, sending the game to its final period with the score at 2-1.
The aggressiveness that New Hampshire found in the second period carried over into the final frame, with two shots on goal coming in the first five minutes that inched the Wildcats closer to tying the score. Luckily Carpentier-Yelle turned these shots into saves, protecting the slim margin the Huskies looked to carry into a win.
The slim margin was doubled midway through the third, as Dobson made the most of the power play opportunity to send home her eleventh goal of the season. Dobson’s goal, with assists from Viki Harkness and Morgan Wabick, gave the Huskies their third goal of the game, topping off a complete performance that culminated in a 3-1 UConn victory.
The second game of the series was more of the same for the red-hot Huskies. The early power play struggles were apparent on consecutive nights, but again, UConn got on the scoreboard first, with a familiar name leading the charge.
After the Huskies successfully neutralized two New Hampshire power play opportunities, aided by a strong defensive unit and saves from goalkeeper Megan Warrener, Snodgrass broke the scoreless tie with four minutes left in the frame, cashing a set-up from Dobson and Harkness to put the Huskies ahead early, a receipt to a winning formula that has helped UConn throughout this extraordinary season. The first period scoring would not stop there, as three minutes later, Amy Landry got on the board, sending home a Morgan Wabick assist as the first period expired to pad the Huskies lead and provide insurance for the defensive unit and Warrener. The freshman from Ontario anchored UConn with 24 saves, including 11 in the third period; finishing a strong Husky defensive performance enroute to a two-game series sweep that pushed the UConn winning streak to four, protecting home ice and emerging victorious, 2-0.
Up next for the Huskies is a matchup with Boston College, a team that UConn took care of last weekend, and will look to sweep all three season meetings. With the series sweep, UConn moves to 19-5-2 overall and 13-4-2 in conference play, with an 11-3-2 mark at home.