Newly ranked No. 14 Connecticut (8-4-2) will take on northeast rival No. 10 Providence (9-2-1) this weekend.
UConn is coming into this series with three straight wins, including a weekend sweep of the then-No. 15 Boston College. Due to their dominant performances, forward Brooke Campbell was named Hockey East Rookie of the Week and Tia Chan was named Hockey East Goaltender of the Week. This was Chan’s second straight week receiving that honor. UConn also returned to the top 15 of the polls for the first time since early October because of its recent success.
Providence comes into the series on a win streak too, as it swept Boston University last weekend. Game one was a 3-2 overtime win, followed by a dominant 4-1 victory the next day. The Friars put up seven goals against the Terriers, all from different scorers. Providence currently ranks 10th in the nation in total goals and assists.
This has been the strength of this Friars team, as 16 different skaters have scored a goal this season. Reichen Kirchmair leads Providence with eight goals so far this season, while forward Sara Hjalmarsson paces the squad with 14 points. Providence is also one of two Hockey East teams to have not lost to Northeastern, having tied the Huskies just a few weeks back.
The strength for UConn this season has been its defense. In the nation, they rank fourth in penalty killing percentage, are tied for third with four shutouts and rank seventh in total saves. The Huskies have six players with double-digit blocks, led by senior Ainsley Svetek with 18.
The goalkeeper matchup is going to be interesting to watch. Chan and Providence’s Sandra Abstreiter are tied for first in the NCAA with four shutouts. Abstreiter ranks eighth in save percentage (0.944), and Chan ranks 10th (0.942). It’s a similar story when it comes to average goals against, with Abstreiter ranking 11th (1.403) and Chan behind her two spots at 13th (1.642). Even the total number of goals allowed are relatively close between the goalies, with Chan (20) having allowed only three more goals than Abstreiter (17).
Providence is currently tied with Vermont for No. 2 in the Hockey East standings, one spot higher than UConn — who just a couple weeks ago was sitting at the bottom. The Huskies have gone 4-1-1 against Hockey East opponents in their last six and look to continue that success against the Friars.
Between these two programs, Providence holds the upper hand leading the all-time series with a record of 40-22-10, including a record of 4-3-3 in their last ten matchups. In their last matchup back in February, UConn and Providence split the series, with the Friars winning 2-1 before UConn won 2-0. Expect more of the same with this weekend’s slate of games.
The first game of this series is in Storrs on Friday at 6 p.m., followed by a 3 p.m. matchup on Saturday in Providence, Rhode Island. Both games will be streamed on ESPN+.