With its 3-1 quarterfinal victory against Boston University last Saturday, the UConn women’s hockey team is now one game from the Hockey East finals.
Next to beat are the University of Vermont Catamounts, who finished just over UConn in the regular season standings. Despite this, the Huskies claimed victory in the season series, winning two of three of the two teams’ meetings. The first matchup, a one-off on Oct. 30, was a nail-biter that UConn won 2-1 in overtime. The two teams traded blowouts in the remaining games, as a 5-1 UConn victory on Jan.7 was followed by a 6-2 UVM win on Jan. 8. Puck drop will be on Wednesday evening, in order to allow for the finals to be played over the weekend.
The Huskies offense had multiple players step up in the BU game. Forward Morgan Wabick finished the game with two total points, including an assist on the go-ahead goal and the final goal of the game, which she scored on an open net after the Terriers pulled the goalie. When UConn was trailing 1-0, forward Jada Habisch scored to tie it, and forward Summer-Rae Dobson was the one to put the Huskies in the lead. Defense-woman Taylor Wabick and forward Viki Harkness also picked up assists. As has been a pattern with UConn all season, there have been many offensive threats able to make a difference, and if this can continue, the Huskies should be in good shape.
Both of UConn’s goaltenders saw action against the Catamounts this year. Samantha Carpentier-Yelle played in the October victory, while Megan Warrener played in both the 5-1 win and the 6-2 loss. Carpentier-Yelle has yet to play in the playoffs this season, while Warrener is fresh off the BU win with the Hockey East Rookie of the Week award in hand, so it will be interesting to see who head coach Chris MacKenzie starts against UVM.
The Catamounts won their quarterfinal 4-1 over Providence, despite getting outshot by the Friars 32-27. It is hard to predict how this will play out against UConn, as UConn’s 26-to-16 shots affair against BU saw less shots overall. Forward Theresa Schafzahl, who leads the team in conference goals by seven, scored twice last week. In the two games she played against UConn during the regular season, she scored three times, making shutting her down a major goal for the Huskies’ defense.
In goal, the Catamounts have only had one player start since Jan. 28: Jessie McPherson, who has a .916 save percentage on the season. McPherson made 31 saves to keep Providence largely off the board last week.
With last week’s win over BU, the Huskies set a program record for wins in a season with 23. Despite this already being a great season for UConn, the team shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. They’ll go for win No. 24 at 6 p.m. Wednesday in Burlington, Vermont.