After a painful shootout loss to BU last Friday, UConn rallied to sweep the season series against UNH in 5-0 blowout fashion. Now, the Huskies have only two opponents remaining in the regular season: a series against Providence this weekend and two games with Northeastern after that.
Currently with a total of 46 Hockey East points, UConn’s maximum possible regular season point total is 58 (three points per regulation victory), and all first-place Northeastern would have to do to surpass that is win two of their remaining five conference games. Therefore, the Huskies’ chances of topping the conference are slim. However, second-place Vermont is only one game and three points ahead of UConn, so the race to silver is very much still a close one.
Now onto the games. Friday night’s matchup will be played in Storrs at the Freitas Ice Forum, with puck drop at 6 p.m. Alongside the Hockey East action, Friday is also the annual Skating Strides game, with UConn partnering with the Be a Wonder foundation, an organization that supports patients with rare diseases and their families. The game Saturday will be played at 3 p.m., this time in Providence, R.I.
Providence comes into this series as the Hockey East team with the best record of the teams under .500 this season. The Friars’ season has been nothing short of a rollercoaster, as they did not win a game in the month of January (seven losses and four postponements), but have not yet lost in February (four wins). After sweeping three games in a row against Holy Cross, they defeated Merrimack on Tuesday to keep the win streak alive going into the UConn series. On offense, the Friars are led in points by assist-leader Hayley Lunny and goal-leader Lindsay Bochna. Both were productive in the two squads’ first meeting back in November, with Bochna recording a goal and an assist, while Lunny picked up an assist as well on the way to a Providence shootout victory.
In the crease, the Friars have mainly relied on two goaltenders this season. Playing the majority of the minutes is Sandra Abstreiter, who has a .933 save percentage in conference play. Also playing significant minutes, Mireille Kingsley has a .938 save percentage. Both players have one shutout each this season.
Eager to not have a repeat of the last Providence game, UConn looks to capitalize on the momentum from the 5-0 Saturday win. On offense, some Huskies to watch include Danielle Fox, who had a hat trick against UNH; Morgan Wabick and Taylor Wabick, who currently lead the team in assists with 16 and 17 apiece; and Natalie Snodgrass, who had two goals of her own on Saturday to take sole possession of the UConn goal lead for conference play this season.
In net, UConn’s two goaltenders, Samantha Carpentier-Yelle and Megan Warrener, look to expand on the success of last week, where only one goal total was allowed. They now sit at Hockey East save percentages of .921 and .955, respectively.
Just as the first time the two teams met, this series is poised to be a close one. Both squads have reasons to play, with UConn pushing for second and Providence fighting to get to .500. Stay tuned for the action, which starts Friday at 6 p.m. in Storrs, streaming on SportsLive.com.