The No. 14 UConn women’s hockey team opened their Toscano Family Ice Forum era with two games on back-to-back nights against Merrimack and Vermont.
In the first game, both teams went on the power play in the first period, with the first two penalties being killed. A second penalty against Merrimack resulted in the first goal in the new arena, scored by first-year forward Brooke Campbell, assisted by senior defensemen Camryn Wong and Claire Peterson.
The second period began with as much aggression as the first. The Warriors had a chance to even the score with the man advantage, but were unable to capitalize. Senior forward and team captain Coryn Tormala was set up by senior defenseman Kaitlyn Yearwood for UConn to take a commanding 2-0 lead. The Huskies’ defense made the period seem flawless outside of the body-checking penalty, allowing just two shots on goal, while putting up 24 on the other end of the ice.
Junior forward Kathryn Stockdale spun around and found sophomore forward Brianna Ware for the team’s third unanswered goal of the evening early in the third period. However, the final period of regulation would not go without mistakes, as a roughing penalty on UConn resulted in a power play goal for Merrimack first-year forward Sophie McKinley, her first career goal. The Warriors, desperately seeking to get the team back in the game, scored a second unanswered goal not long after the first as forward Hannah Corneliusen found the back of the net for the first time in 2023. With the score set at 3-2, Merrimack pulled their goalie in hopes that a sixth player could help their chances of tying the game. However, UConn senior and forward Kate Thurman scored the empty-netter as the Huskies won 4-2 in their first game at the Toscano Family Ice Forum.
The second game came against No. 11 Vermont, seeking a road win in the Hockey East. The first period began just like the third period of the Merrimack game ended, with a Kate Thurman goal, this time assisted by Tormala. Stockdale set up first-year forward Megan Woodworth for her second goal in three games. The Huskies finished the first period with two goals on seven shots on goal.
Vermont began the second period with a tripping penalty where Wong, assisted by Campbell and Peterson, increased the Huskies’ lead to 3-0.
Both teams played four-on-four hockey to begin the third period, as each team was assessed a penalty. Vermont sophomore and forward Alaina Tanski scored her first goal of the season while the Catamounts were shorthanded. Down 3-1, Vermont pulled their goaltender in hopes of cutting the deficit to one, but first-year UConn forward Christina Walker scored her first career goal on an empty net to give the Huskies a 4-1 victory over the eleventh-ranked Catamounts.
UConn will head on the road again after a weekend sweep at the Toscano Family Ice Forum, traveling to Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts to take on No. 15 Boston College tonight. Puck drop is set for 6 p.m. at Kelley Rink and is available to watch on ESPN+.