After starting off their first four weeks of Hockey East play with a 2-4-1 conference record, the No. 14 UConn Women’s Hockey team has turned their season around as they have routed both the then No. 14 Boston College Eagles and No. 10 Providence in home and home series for the past two weekends. This recent surge has advanced their conference record to 6-4-1, and overall record to 10-4-1.
Game one of the Providence series was held at Freitas Ice Forum in Storrs, Connecticut on Friday night. The Friars got on the board first after a goal by junior forward Rachel Weiss early on in the first period. UConn tied the game at one after a goal from senior forward Amy Landry around three minutes after, marking Landry’s first goal of the season. The Huskies then took the lead midway through the first, as freshman forward Brooke Campbell cashed in on a rebound off of a wrist shot by junior forward Jada Habisch. From this moment on, neither UConn or Providence found the back of the net, and the Huskies went on to win 2-1. Sophomore goaltender Tia Chan recorded 25 saves on the night and was a brick wall in the crease for the second and third periods to help UConn to achieve this crucial victory.
Not only was Campbell’s goal the deciding factor in this game, but also marked her fourth of the season as she continues to put up impressive numbers in her first year. The freshman won four faceoffs on the night, and has six total points on the season, recording four goals and two assists. As she leads the Huskies’ freshman class, Campbell is certainly making herself a serious contender for the Hockey East Rookie of the Year award.
As UConn traveled east to Providence for game two of the series on Saturday, it was met with much tougher competition from the Friars. Providence once again was the first to score, after graduate forward Noemi Neubauerova got her shot by Chan in the first period. The Huskies failed to score for the first two periods, as Providence’s graduate goaltender Sandra Abstreiter made 18 saves, constantly rejecting any hopes UConn had of scoring. However, Habisch ended Abstreiter’s shutout bid after rifling a shot past her to knot the game at one early in the third. Habisch, UConn’s leading scorer, would then go on to play hero for the Huskies as she scored again midway through the third period to give them the lead, propelling them to another 2-1 victory.
Going into their sixth weekend of play, the UConn Women’s Hockey team sat at 4-3-1 on the season, holding a mere 0-3-1 Hockey East conference record. The team struggled to find a groove offensively in conference play, but their defense held them close for many tough losses. Clearly head coach Chris MacKenzie, who is in his ninth year at the helm, went to work with his skaters. Their offense has operated at a higher pace as of recently, and has looked increasingly smooth as they cycle the puck on attack.
The only flaw this team saw this past weekend was their power-play offense. They went 0-6 on power play opportunities across both games, only recording nine shots total. As long as MacKenzie continues to work with his team and make the necessary adjustments to his special teams forces, the Huskies will become an even more dangerous threat to the rest of the conference. They have gotten hot at a great time, and are certainly going to see their national ranking (now No. 14) bump up after this second weekend sweep against a ranked opponent.
Coming up for the Huskies is yet another important home and home weekend series with Boston University. When playing Hockey East conference games, no win is ever easy. The Huskies will certainly have to bring the same level of tenacity as they go to war with the Terriers this weekend, before heading to play Sacred Heart in the Nutmeg Classic Thanksgiving weekend.