Head coach Chris MacKenzie’s Huskies have been shot out of a cannon in the second half of the season. On a five game win streak, they have defeated three ranked opponents in as many games, with two coming against Merrimack and Vermont in the new Toscano Family Ice Forum. They captured another victory last Tuesday away at Boston College, defeating the Eagles 3-1.
As they look to add to their momentum with a Hockey East conference matchup against Providence this Friday night, they are most certainly going to have to leave it all out on the ice. The Friars sit tied for second in conference standings and are ranked one slot ahead of the Huskies in NCAA national rankings (12).
In their last matchup, UConn took both games in a home-and-home series with Providence, winning 2-1 on both Friday and Saturday. The Huskies will most certainly turn to their leading scorer Jada Habisch to find the back of the Friars net. The junior forward leads the team in goals with nine on the season, scoring two in the Huskies’ last game at Chestnut Hill. She leads the team in shots on goal by nearly 30 (90).
As they defend their home ice, Providence’s Sara Hjalmarsson is definitely going to be a problem for the UConn netminders, whether it be Tia Chan or Megan Warrener. The graduate student leads the Friars with 15 goals, 14 assists, and nearly 100 shots. In their last five games, Providence has only won once. This lack of momentum is certainly something that the Huskies can capitalize on, and remain undefeated against the conference enemy on the season.
Another Husky to look out for this weekend is freshman forward Brooke Campbell. This Hockey East Rookie of the Year candidate is most certainly a contributing factor to the Huskies offense, leading all freshmen in offensive statistics with six goals and four assists on the season. Her most recent goal came in the first game ever played at the all-new Toscano Family Ice Forum, as she found the back of the net on a power-play goal.
UConn needs the offensive spark from Campbell and Habisch if they want to trump the Friars this weekend. One area of play that the Huskies can continue to seek improvement on is their power play offense. UConn struggled with this area of play heading into the winter offseason and has found the back of the net twice in 10 power-play opportunities since. Regardless, the Huskies certainly know how to find the back of the net, outshooting their last five opponents 14-4. If they can tidy up their special teams offense to match the rest of their performance on-ice, they undoubtedly will become an even deadlier team.
It is all gas no brakes for UConn, as they look to continue to torment the rest of the conference as they make their way to the top of the standings, and Providence is next on their surge for the conference championship.