Women’s Hockey: No. 15 UConn finishes second in the Nutmeg Classic.

0
116
11/22 WHOC vs. Maine by Benjamin Roy The UConn Women’s Hockey team falls to Boston University 2-1 on Friday Nov. 18th, 2022 at Mark Freitas Ice Forum. This matchup marked the final game ever played at the forum, in anticipation for the new Toscano Family Ice Forum opening in Jan. 2023.

The No. 15 UConn Women’s Ice Hockey team traveled down to Hamden this past Thanksgiving weekend and battled in the annual Nutmeg Classic against the Bemidji State Beavers, Sacred Heart Pioneers and the No. 4 Quinnipiac Bobcats. The tournament was held on Friday, Nov. 25 and Saturday, Nov. 26. The Bobcats hosted the tournament, and all games were played at M&T Bank Arena, their home rink. 

For the Huskies’ first game of the tournament, they battled Sacred Heart on Friday night. Period one was a back and forth battle, as both teams managed to find the back of the net once. The Pioneers got on the board first after junior forward Paige McNeil saucered a pass to graduate forward Delani MacKay, who shot the puck past UConn’s sophomore goaltender Tia Chan. UConn answered back with a goal from freshman forward Brooke Campbell off of an assist from sophomore forward Riley Grimley to knot the game up one, where it remained going into the second period.  

Both teams once again found the back of the net again in the second period in an exact scoring repeat of the first period. Sacred Heart took the lead in the matchup as graduate defender Nicole Guidi dished the puck off to fellow graduate defender Kelly Solak for a Pioneer goal. UConn senior defender Claire Peterson provided the equalizing goal for the Huskies after taking the puck herself the length of the ice to put it past Sacred Heart sophomore goaltender Carly Greene.  

The third period was a scoreless, back and forth 20 minute battle that both teams failed to score in, causing the game to head to a sudden-death overtime period. This is when UConn sophomore defender Ava Rinker fired an absolute missile past Greene to give the Huskies the win and send them to the championship game of the tournament. This goal was monumental for Rinker, as it was her first collegiate goal that also happened to come on her birthday.  

Despite falling short in this matchup against UConn, Sacred Heart’s Greene had herself a night, saving 54 shots in this non-conference tournament matchup. UConn’s Chan saved ten shots, as the powerful defense severely limited the amount of shots the Pioneers were able to get off. The Huskies’ power play offense fell short on all three opportunities this game, which is something they have struggled with this season.  

11/22 WHOC vs. Maine by Benjamin Roy The UConn Women’s Hockey team falls to Boston University 2-1 on Friday Nov. 18th, 2022 at Mark Freitas Ice Forum. This matchup marked the final game ever played at the forum, in anticipation for the new Toscano Family Ice Forum opening in Jan. 2023.

After the exhilarating overtime win on Friday night, the Huskies took on Quinnipiac in the championship game of the tournament on Saturday night. The Huskies offense was shut down by the Bobcats, as they failed to score throughout the entire game. The sole goal of the game came from Quinnipiac sophomore forward Maya Labad during the second period. This proved to be the championship-deciding goal for the Bobcats, as their lockdown defense did not allow UConn to put many pucks on net, limiting the Huskies to 16 shots on goal the entire game. UConn fell 1-0 to the Bobcats, placing second in the four team tournament.  

UConn’s power play offense once again fell short, as it did not connect on four separate opportunities. This plagued UConn’s chances of winning, as it failed to take advantage of having the extra skater on the ice in big moments, where it desperately needed to score. This aspect of the game is certainly going to have to be adjusted by veteran head coach Chris MacKenzie. If the Huskies tune this aspect of their offense up, they will be an even more dangerous team, and will certainly see their conference and national rankings rise as a result.  

Given that this tournament featured two non-conference matchups, the Huskies’ Hockey East conference standings position will not be affected. Moving forward, UConn will travel up to Durham, New Hampshire this upcoming weekend for a two game Friday-Saturday matchup with conference opponent University of New Hampshire.  

Leave a Reply