Looking to sweep the season series, the UConn women’s hockey team welcomed Boston College to Storrs on Friday night with a chance to extend their four-game winning streak.
Minutes into the opening period, the Huskies had a power-play opportunity with Natalie Snodgrass and Ava Rinker registering shots on goal, but strong goalkeeping from Eagles goaltender Abigail Levy helped visiting Boston College keep the game scoreless. Levy and Samantha Carpentier-Yelle recorded 12 and seven saves respectively, neutralizing the offensive attacks of the opposing teams to send this one to the second period with neither team on the scoreboard.
Boston College came out with an aggressive approach in the second, forcing Carpentier-Yelle to turn away chances from Olivia Finocchario and Deirdre Mullowney. Her heroics successfully neutralized the Eagles’ power-play chance and their subsequent shots. Snodgrass, Morgan Wabick and Taylor Wabick looked to break through for the first goal of the night on a second period power-play chance of their own, but Levy stepped up and made several saves to keep BC in contention and hold off the UConn scoring attack.
Both UConn and Boston College would have more opportunities throughout the second period, but Levy and Carpentier-Yelle continued to anchor their respective defenses. Despite outshooting BC 31-15 in the first two periods, the Huskies did not capitalize, going into the third without gaining advantage.
Four minutes into the final period, however, UConn converted on a power-play opportunity that was created by a Gaby Roy body-checking call. Viki Harkness scored her 10th goal of the season, converting a shot created by Snodgrass and Summer Rae-Dobson to give the Huskies a 1-0 lead and notch the first goal of the game for either side. Boston College would not go down without a fight of their own, as Caroline Goffredo notched her sixth goal of the season three minutes later to even the score at one apiece. This seemed to kickstart the Eagles on the offensive end, as Natalie Tulchinsky beat Carpentier-Yelle one minute later to put Boston College in front — a perfect time to score her first goal of the season.
Despite two Boston College penalties in a row down the stretch, Levy and the Eagles defense remained locked in, neutralizing the extra attacker opportunities and turning away all 14 UConn shots in the period, looking to steal a much-needed road victory. An empty net goal scored by Abby Newhook was the insurance that Boston College needed to come out on top, defeating the Huskies 3-1.
UConn outshot BC 44-19 in the game, with 12 of the shots on-goal coming in the various power-play opportunities created by Eagle penalties, but it was not enough to extend their winning streak further and sweep the season series from their conference rival.
The Huskies did not have time to dwell on the defeat, traveling to Worcester on Sunday for an afternoon showdown with Holy Cross, who UConn swept in a two game home-and-home series in the first weekend of December, outplaying the Crusaders with a combined score of 8-1.
Penalties by UConn’s Rae-Dobson and Holy Cross forward Millie Sirum opened the door for both teams to grab the early advantage. The Huskies outplayed the host Crusaders in the shots on-goal department to the tune of 11-5 in the opening period, with Danielle Fox leading the charge with three of her own. Holy Cross goalkeeper Jada Brenon was up to the challenge, turning away all of UConn’s opportunities keeping the Crusaders in the game, desperate for their first win since Dec. 10, with her squad coming in at a 3-21 record. Both Lilly Feeney and Emilie Fortunato had a handful of chances for Holy Cross, but both teams headed into the first intermission tied at zero.
One minute into the second period UConn broke through first, as Jada Habisch scored her 10th goal of the season. Goalkeeper Megan Warrener aided the effort, turning away Crusader opportunities from Feeney and Mary Edmonds to create the offensive momentum that allowed Habisch to put the Huskies in front. Warrener and Brenon continued to dazzle in-net, as UConn failed to add onto their lead on a power-play opportunity that came from Holy Cross’ too many players on the ice. Kathryn Stockdale, Taylor Wabick and Snodgrass all had chances to convert UConn’s second goal, but it was up to Brenon to keep the Crusaders within a goal midway through the second period. Unfortunately for Holy Cross, the Huskies continued their aggressive attack, culminating in Morgan Wabick’s ninth goal of the season to give UConn a highly sought-after two-goal lead, finishing home a feed from Fox.
Warrener was not perfect the whole game. Holy Cross cut the UConn lead in half, with Sirum scoring the first goal for the Crusaders late in the second period — her fifth goal of the year.
The offense seemed to be spurred on by the late goal, with Warrener turning away seven Crusader shots on-goal, successfully holding onto the slim UConn lead midway through the final frame. The third period was dictated completely by Warrener, Brenon and both defenses holding serve, with the UConn goalkeeper notching 25 saves that afternoon. Despite being outshot 14-6 in the final period, UConn bounce backed and took care of business on the road, defeating Holy Cross 2-1. This marked the Huskies’ 20th win of the season, to move 20-6-2 and 14-5-2 in Hockey East play.
Up next for the Huskies are two road games next weekend, traveling to Boston for a Friday night showdown with Boston University before heading up north to take on New Hampshire Saturday afternoon.