For the first time since the Nutmeg Classic in November, UConn women’s hockey will be playing against two different opponents this weekend. The action will kick off Friday night at home against Boston College, followed by a Sunday matinee against Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts.
UConn is currently on a four-game win streak, including two victories over BC. Friday’s game will complete the season series against the Eagles, and UConn is poised to sweep. Sunday’s matchup with Holy Cross has similar stakes, as the Huskies swept a weekend series against the Crusaders back in early December.
Last week’s wins over UNH boosted UConn into second place in the Hockey East conference, and they are now only 2.5 games behind first place Northeastern. The season’s final two games are a showdown between the two Husky schools, so each of the six games leading up to that are crucial.
Before any serious talk of the future, however, this weekend’s games need to be played. As mentioned previously, UConn comes into their Friday night game with significant momentum, but they’re not the only one. BC has three games in a row, having righted the ship after a 4-game losing streak.
On offense, BC is led by top goal scorers Abby Newhook and Hannah Bilka, who have 11 and 10 goals, respectively, in conference play. Also notable is Kelly Browne, with seven goals of her own, as well as 14 assists. In goal, BC has started Abigail Levy in all but one game this year. Levy has a .936 save percentage on the season, but gave up seven goals in two games the last time the Eagles faced the Huskies.
Sunday’s game features two teams on different trajectories: While UConn comes in strong, Holy Cross has not won a conference game since Nov. 11, and has only managed three total wins all season. When the Crusaders and Huskies last faced each other, UConn outscored Holy Cross 8-1 in two games, including a shutout.
Holy Cross’ main scoring threat is forward Darci Johal, who has six goals on the season, all of which came in conference games. The Crusaders have had two goaltenders play significant minutes this season, and UConn has faced both. Jada Brenon, who has played the majority of the time, has a .898 save percentage on the season, while Madison Beck has a .911 percentage.
As for UConn, the offense will look to players like Summer-Rae Dobson and Natalie Snodgrass, both of which scored in the UNH series, with Snodgrass picking up her second two-goal weekend in a row. Both of UConn’s goaltenders are coming off good games, with Samantha Carpentier-Yelle only allowing one goal in Monday’s win and Megan Warrener completing a shutout on Tuesday. On the season, they have put up .917 and .949 save percentages in conference play, respectively.
Despite their two wins over UNH last week, UConn has once again dropped out of the top 10 ranked teams in the country, but only to 11. Another strong weekend will certainly make a good case for reinstatement on that list, and will legitimately keep them in the running to challenge Northeastern for the top spot in the Hockey East. All the action begins at 6 p.m. on Friday at the Freitas Ice Forum, and then continues 2 p.m. Sunday in Worcester.