Women’s Hockey: Huskies, Black Bears split Weekend

10-28-2022 WHOC vs. Maine, by Skyler Kim, Staff Photographer. UConn Women’s Ice Hockey competes against Maine on Friday, Oct. 28, 2022. The Huskies were unable to score all game, falling 0-1.

This past weekend, the Connecticut Huskies split a series with the Maine Black Bears in a home and home. Maine won game one by a score of 1-0, then UConn pitched a shutout of its own winning 2-0. 

These Hockey East opponents have had vastly different paths this season as UConn has struggled with in division play, an area that has been a strength for Maine. Going into this weekend UConn looked to flip the script and gain some momentum going into November.

Game one of this series came down to goalkeeping. UConn’s Tia Chan and Maine’s Jorden Mattinson dueled it out, keeping the game scoreless throughout both the first and second periods, finishing the game with 39 saves each. Chan closed out the second period with an impressive stop, reaching over to her right side and knocking down the puck on a shot right in front of the goal to keep the game tied.   

Forward Luisa Welcke scored the first goal with just 5:36 left in the game for the Black Bears. Her twin sister, Lilli Welcke, is credited with the assist. It was also Luisa’s first career collegiate goal.  

UConn had three power play opportunities but wasn’t able to capitalize on them. This is where the Huskies’ offense thrives, as they rank second in the nation in power play goals in the NCAA, with seven out of their 26 goals coming on power plays.   

This was Mattinson’s second shutout this season, which came in back-to-back games as she shutout No. 6 Northeastern last weekend.   

Game two of the series was all Huskies.  

Forward Jada Habisch started the scoring for the day with an unassisted goal, her third goal of the season. Captain Coryn Tormala took advantage of a two on one situation, padding the lead with her fourth goal of the season to put the Huskies up 2-0. Christina Walker was credited with the assist.   

Tamala and Habisch rank first and second respectively at UConn for points with nine and seven.  UConn is trying to regain some momentum headed into the new month and the success of these two players will be key. 

UConn was great on defense, which will be key for it to continue in the future. This is a team that only lost nine games last season, and while the season is still young, it already has four losses. Penalty killing has always been the Huskies’ strong suit, as they currently rank seventh in the country in that category. 

Chan had one of her best series this year against a good opponent, allowing just one goal in both games combined. In game two, Chan made a season high of 41 saves, exactly two weeks after she gave up six goals to No. 14 Vermont. In the four games since Vermont, Chan has only allowed three goals and has been the reason for UConn’s ability to rebound from a rough stretch. This was her third shutout already this season. 

Maine’s leading scorer, Grace Heiting, had a quiet weekend, not racking up any points. She had a stretch earlier in the season in which she scored five goals in four straight games.  

The Welcke sisters currently rank third and fourth on the Maine Black Bears, with Luisa ahead of Lilli by one. They both have one goal each and as freshmen look to develop and grow within this program as they start their collegiate careers. 

UConn continues to struggle against Hockey East opponents with a record of 2-4-2, but a win against Maine is a positive sign for the team. 

Maine has won six out of its last nine games and is picking up steam headed into the middle of the season.  

The Huskies turn to face the recently ranked Boston College (6-3-1) next weekend for the first time this season. Boston College holds the all-time record against UConn at 44-22-10 but only 6-4 in its last 10.  The last matchup between these two teams came back in January with Boston College winning 3-1. 

Maine goes back home to face Vermont (5-4-1) in a home and home for themselves. The history of these programs isn’t as decorated as UConn and Boston College but still respectable. Vermont leads the all-time series at 19-12-5 and 6-2-2 in the past 10 including three straight victories. 

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