After last weekend, Northeastern clinched the No. 1 spot in Hockey East, but the hunt for No. 2 is not over between UConn, UVM and BC. BC has 46 total points and is in fourth, UConn currently sits in third with 49 points on the season, while UVM is in second with 52. Points are awarded as follows: Three points for a regulation win, two for an overtime or shootout win, one for an overtime or shootout loss and zero for a regulation loss. UVM’s path to second is the simplest – two wins over BC will place them out of reach of UConn, and as long as BC does not sweep, they can’t pass Vermont. For UConn, they need to win at least one game over Northeastern, then hope the second game is something other than a regulation loss to have a chance. For BC, the only hope is that if they can sweep UVM, and UConn doesn’t sweep Northeastern, they’ll be right there for second.
Enough of the standings scenarios though, onto the UConn games at hand. When the two Husky schools last met, Northeastern mounted a heartbreaking comeback to narrowly beat UConn 2-3 after the Storrs Huskies started off with a 2-0 lead. Since that game, UConn is 10-3-1 in Hockey East play, while Northeastern is 10-1-0.
On offense for UConn, there is currently a three-way tie for total points scored between forwards Natalie Snodgrass, Viki Harkness and Morgan Wabick. In conference, Snodgrass and Wabick have had slightly more success, with Harkness and defensewoman Taylor Wabick right behind. Offense was lacking a bit in last weekend’s contests against Providence, as UConn scored a total of three goals in two games, so these leaders will need to be at their best in order to out play Northeastern. In goal, last weekend was the first time in a while that Samantha Carpentier-Yelle started both games, as the usual pattern seems to be one start each between Carpentier-Yelle and Megan Warrener. Who will get which starts remains up in the air, as Carpentier-Yelle comes off a 2-0 shutout win over Providence.
For Northeastern, two stand-out players on offensive this season have been Maureen Murphy and Skylar Fontaine. Murphy leads those Huskies in goals as well as total points in conference play, with 20 and 38 respectively, while Fontaine is second in points and leads the team with 27 assists. Aerin Frankel has held down the majority of goaltending duties for Northeastern this season, having recorded eight shutouts, while Gwyneth Philips has also spent considerable time in goal. Both have save percentages of over .950.
No matter the results of these last two games, these are teams that will seed in the top half of the Hockey East playoff bracket, which starts next weekend. If both teams make runs, this could very easily be a late-stage matchup, so this will be an important preview. Additionally, whoever comes out of this weekend on top will be able to ride that moment straight into the playoffs, while the other might need to find the spark again.