The UConn women’s hockey team kicks off their 2022-23 season Friday Sept. 23 and Saturday Sept. 24 against RIT, a two-game series at the Mark Edward Freitas Ice Forum. The puck drops at 6 p.m. on Friday and 3 p.m. on Saturday. The Huskies will look to improve upon last season. However, that would be quite a feat considering it was one of the best in program history. Coach Chris MacKenzie will look for the Huskies to “take it game by game…we are really looking forward to getting better every game.”
The Huskies finished 24-9-4 in 2021-22, with a 16-7-4 conference record. The preseason poll last year pegged the Huskies at fourth in the Hockey East. They finished one better, at third. They made it to their third Hockey East Championship Game in the last five years, eventually falling to Northeastern 3-1. This year’s preseason poll has the Huskies sitting at sixth, while Northeastern is projected to finish first.
Some key departures have left opportunities for some players to step up, most notably Morgan Wabick and Summer-Rae Dobson, who each scored 13 goals apiece. Both are playing in professional leagues. Senior captain Coryn Tormala acknowledged those departures.
“The senior class last year was an experienced group, so I definitely learned a lot from them, and will look to try and use what I learned last year and bring it to the team this year. With a younger team like Coach said, we just need to make sure we stay together and worry about what we can control,” Tormala said.
Graduating such a large and accomplished group, Coach MacKenzie welcomes the idea of someone stepping up into a larger role, “but we need more time to figure that out.” Coach MacKenzie went on to compliment this year’s senior class on how they have brought the freshmen up to speed in relation to the college game. He expressed his optimism for his players going forward, saying “I have the utmost faith that they will continue to improve as we go along.”
With those departures being key scorers, junior Jada Habisch will have the chance to thrive. She is coming off a year in which she was tied for the team lead in goals with 13. She also had 17 points on the year last season. Sophomore Megan Warrener went 12-3-1 while in goal, with a .944 save percentage and a season high of 37 saves against Northeastern on March 5. Warrener had seven shutouts to her credit.
Hockey East play begins on Oct. 7 at Northeastern, a rematch of last year’s Hockey East Championship Game. Tormala hails the Hockey East Association as “having great players and we can’t wait to go out there and compete again.” If you think those great players and teams have Tormala rattled, think again. “We are going to continue fighting and playing for each other no matter who we face,” she said. Before conference play begins, the Huskies will have seven non-conference games. Non-conference opponents include RIT, Stonehill College, Brown on Dec. 31 and participation in the Nutmeg Classic. In November UConn will take part in the aforementioned Nutmeg Classic hosted by Quinnipiac University. Sacred Heart and Bemidji State will also be in attendance.
UConn will kick off the 2023 section of the season with a home contest against Merrimack College on Jan. 13, then the following day they will play the University of Vermont. The team will also play road games at Boston College, Providence and Maine. Concluding the regular season are matchups against Boston University in Boston on Feb. 3 and Northeastern at home on Feb. 10.