With hopes to end the regular season on a high note, the UConn women’s hockey team battled No. 4 Northeastern in a home-and-home series this weekend.
Senior Night in Freitas Ice Forum on Friday night was an absolute thriller, as high-tempo offense dictated the flow of the game. UConn was the first team to have a serious chance to take an early lead, courtesy of Brooke Hobson’s body checking penalty that forced Northeastern on the power play kill only two minutes into the first period.
Alex Anne-Boyer, Summer-Rae Dobson and Natalie Snodgrass all had chances to give their Huskies an early advantage, but Northeastern goalie Aerin Franklin turned away every shot on-goal to keep the game scoreless. It was not long before Northeastern had a power play of its own, with Taylor Wabick forced to the box on a cross checking call. This opportunity was not wasted by the No. 4 team in the nation, as Katie Cipra scored her fourth goal of the season on the advantage, cashing in an assist from Megan Carter to give the visiting Huskies a 1-0 lead.
Penalties continued to plague UConn, as Jada Habisch was whistled for tripping seconds after Northeastern grabbed the lead. With a combination of Samantha Carpentier-Yelle saves and blocked shots by Wabick and Anne-Boyer, UConn was able to neutralize the advantage and keep its deficit at one.
This did not last long, however, as Maureen Murphy continued an outstanding season with her 24th goal of the season, padding the lead for Northeastern and giving her Huskies a 2-0 lead late in the first period. Northeastern kept Carpentier-Yelle on her toes throughout the game, forcing the UConn goalkeeper to make 14 saves in that period alone. The host Huskies had their chances in the opening period to cut into the lead and stop the momentum, but Franklin had eight saves to send her Northeastern squad into the first intermission with a 2-0 lead.
Two minutes into the second period, UConn broke through, as Summer Rae-Dobson scored her 12th goal of the season, assisted by Morgan Wabick and Danielle Fox, beating Frankel and cutting the Northeastern lead in half. The visiting Huskies showed why they are ranked fourth in the country, responding three minutes later with a second period goal of their own. Mia Brown got one past the UConn defense and Carpentier-Yelle for her fifth goal of the season, building Northeastern’s lead back up to two.
UConn would not go away, as following a Chloe Aurard roughing penalty eight minutes into the period, Morgan Wabick scored her 10th goal of the season off of feeds from Snodgrass and her sister, Taylor. Despite outshooting Northeastern 14-4 in the period, UConn’s penalties again proved to be costly, as Auraud notched her 18th goal on the advantage to give her Huskies a two-goal advantage yet again.
UConn found power play success right away in the third, as the Wabick connection converted again. This time, Taylor scored her fifth goal of the year from Morgan and Dobson to get the Huskies back into contention. Carpentier-Yelle continued to face constant pressure from the Northeastern offense, but turned away three shots in the span of two minutes to keep UConn within striking distance.
The Huskies’ resilience on Senior Night was evident throughout regulation, which culminated in Jada Habisch’s game-tying goal, her 11th goal of the season. This brought UConn even at four for the first time since the opening period. Both teams had chances to come out on top in regulation, but Frankel and Carpentier-Yelle had nine and 13 saves respectively in the period, sending the game to overtime.
Northeastern dominated overtime, as UConn failed to record a shot on-goal, putting pressure on Carpentier-Yelle. The goalie delivered four saves in the period, helping the host Huskies get to a shootout. However, she was not able to save shots from Aurard and Lauren MacInnis, as Northeastern spoiled Senior Night, winning the shootout 2-0 and forcing the Huskies to settle with one point.
Saturday afternoon, however, was not contentious, as Northeastern dominated throughout the game. Five minutes into the first period, Cipra again set the tone with the first goal of the game, getting her fifth goal of the season past Carpentier-Yelle to give her Huskies a lead they would not relinquish.
Northeastern added onto its early lead, courtesy of Tessa Ward, who converted off feeds from Maddie Mills and Skylar Fontaine. Carpentier-Yelle’s day ended early as the fourth-ranked Huskies scored their third goal of the period, this time at the hands of Katie Knoll. Knoll’s ninth goal of the year prompted Megan Warrener to take over for UConn in-goal.
UConn kept pace with Northeastern in the shot department in the first period, only recording one less. But Aerin Frankel was locked in, saving all 11 shots in the first and all 13 in the second to keep UConn off the scoreboard. Warrener temporarily stopped the bleeding in-net, but Brown scored Northeastern’s fourth goal late in the second period, on a power-play chance created by a Danielle Fox cross checking call.
The fourth-ranked Huskies added the icing on the cake with a goal in the third period, as Murphy and Knoll assisted Miceala Sindoris for her third goal of the year, completing a dominant 5-0 Northeastern win to close out the weekend. Frankel completed the shutout with 32 saves overall, with 11 in the first, 13 in the second and eight in the third, shutting down a UConn squad that found ways to score the night before, but did not have the offensive output on the road.
UConn closed out the regular season at 22-8-4 overall, 16-7-4 in the conference, 11-5-3 at home, and 11-3-1 on the road. Up next for the Huskies is the Hockey East tournament, where they will host a quarterfinal game on Saturday, Feb. 26, as a top 4 finish in the conference provided the team with a first-round bye. The opponent and game time are still to be determined.