The UConn women’s hockey team’s record-breaking season continues, as we’ve finally made it to the finale of the Hockey East conference. Wednesday night brought two 3-1 games, with No. 1 Northeastern defeating No. 5 Maine and No. 3 UConn upsetting No. 2 UVM. Now the stage is set for a showdown between the two Husky teams on Saturday night.
This regular season, UConn and Northeastern met three times, with Northeastern winning all three. The first two were close, a 3-2 game and a 4-4 tie that Northeastern ended up winning in a shootout, while the third game was a 5-0 blowout in Boston.
UConn’s path through the playoffs has been relatively consistent, as both of its games have ended in 3-1 victories, to BU and UVM respectively. Northeastern, on the other hand, aimed immediately to show itself as top dog in Hockey East, steamrolling Merrimack 8-0 in the quarterfinals. Maine was able to keep things more closely, but the Howlin’ Huskies still made it through confidently.
On offense for UConn, the biggest key to victory will be staying in the game. The first matchup between these two teams on Nov. 20, 2021 saw UConn get up 2-0, then let Northeastern score three consecutive goals without any more offensive action from the Connecticut side. In the second game the exact opposite happened, where UConn came back from a 2-0 deficit, then did it again to come back from 4-2. If the Connecticut Huskies can keep the game looking more like the first two and not like the last, they’ll have a chance to win. So far in the playoffs, two players to watch are forwards Jada Habisch and Morgan Wabick, who each have a goal in both games.
Speaking of playoff momentum, Megan Warrener has had two stellar playoff starts in goal for UConn. With a .957 save percentage across the two games, she has certainly made a case for getting a start in the finals. Samantha Carpentier-Yelle, who started more games in the regular season, has yet to make an appearance in the playoffs.
For Northeastern, forward Maureen Murphy has been on fire in the playoffs. After leading the team in goals in the regular season, she has scored five in the past two games, including a hat trick against Merrimack. If she keeps up her hot streak in the finals it could spell trouble for UConn.
In goal for Northeastern is three-time Hockey East finals MVP Aerin Frankel. Two of her three MVP wins have been against UConn teams, so this Huskies squad has a streak to break if they want to emerge victorious this year. Frankel has posted a .968 save percentage so far in the playoffs, so UConn certainly has its work cut out for it.
As was previously mentioned, UConn has faced Northeastern in the Hockey East finals two times since 2018, and lost both times. While Northeastern have not lost in this tournament since 2018, UConn has never won it, so everything is on the line. Will Storrs’ Huskies come out on top and add a 25th win to their best season in program history? All the action will go down Saturday at 7 p.m. at Matthews Arena in Boston.