Coming into the home stretch of the season, the No. 14 Connecticut Huskies (16-8-3) have some pivotal Hockey East games this weekend. Currently, UConn is tied for fourth in the Hockey East (10-7-3) and has a solid chance to finish within the top three for the second year straight.
Since their last loss against New Hampshire in early December, Connecticut has been on fire going 5-0-1. UConn averaged 2.83 goals per game in that six-game stretch and served two shutouts, both by goalkeeper Megan Warrener.
The Huskies are led by junior Jada Habisch and senior captain Coryn Tormala. Habisch leads UConn with nine goals including two from last weekend against Boston College. She also made the decisive shootout goal to give UConn the extra point against Providence this past Friday. Tormala having six goals and eight assists, alongside Habisch with nine goals and five assists, top the Huskies in points with 14 apiece.
Two Huskies that have been key to the recent offensive production are Camryn Wong and Kate Thurman. Despite being listed on defense, Wong has goals in two of the last three games while Forward Thurman has a four-game point streak in which she has three goals.
Defensively, seniors Kaitlyn Yearwood, Ainsley Svetek and Claire Peterson lead the team in blocks (42, 41 and 33 respectively). UConn ranks No. 10 in the nation with six shutouts and are fifth in penalty kill percentage at .909.
The first game of the weekend will be in Maine taking on the Black Bears.
Maine has gone 1-4-1 since the beginning of January, with losses to Boston College (twice), New Hampshire and Northeastern. During this stretch, Maine has averaged 3.67 goals allowed per game (22 total) while only averaging 1.83 goals themselves (11 total) with seven of those goals coming from just two games. The Black Bears currently sit sixth in the Hockey East standings with a 9-10-1 record in conference play and split a series earlier in the season with UConn.
What really stands out about Maine is how well their younger players are performing. Sophomores Mira Seregély (19) and Alyssa Wruble (16) along with freshmen twins Luisa and Lilli Welcke (16) round out the team’s top point scorers. Freshman goaltender Brooklyn Oakes has played the most games behind goal for the Black Bears with 15.
Despite a sub .500 record, Maine has shown glimpses of hope. They rank No. 13 in the nation for shutouts with five and they’ve beaten ranked opponents on three different occasions (No. 3 Northeastern, No. 10 Clarkson University and No. 15 Boston College), meaning you should never count out the Black Bears.
After Friday’s game, Connecticut comes home to face New Hampshire (9-17-0) on Sunday.
New Hampshire is eighth in the Hockey East standings with a 7-12-0 conference record. The Wildcats are 3-3-0 in the month of January and will take on No. 13 Providence College on Saturday. The Wildcats split with the Huskies earlier this year, handing UConn their last loss in a 4-0 blowout, then lost 1-0 the next day.
Sophomore Kira Juodikis leads the Wildcats with 11 goals and graduate student Emily Pinto leads the Wildcats with 21 points. Nicky Harnett and Ava Boutilier share goaltending duties with Harnett taking the brunt of the work. Junior Brianna Brooks was just named Hockey East co-player of the week with a hat trick against Boston College. Both Juodikis and Brooks are on a four-game point streak and provide the power behind this Wildcat offense.
New Hampshire ranks No. 10 in the nation with 16 power play goals which paired with UConn’s stellar defense should make for a great game.
Both games can be streamed on ESPN+. Sunday’s game versus New Hampshire will be the Huskies’ third game at the new Toscano Family Ice Forum.