The UConn women’s hockey team will kick off their season with two road exhibition games against Penn State this weekend. The Huskies will face the Nittany Lions of the College Hockey America conference in a two-game match up.
The 2022-2023 season was an exciting one for both UConn hockey programs with the grand opening of their new rink, Toscano Family Ice Forum, in January.
The UConn women’s team finished last season with an overall record of 18-13-4 and 14-1-1 in Hockey East conference play. They ranked fifth in the conference with a total of 44 points, a sum of team goals and assists. The Huskies are led by head coach Chris MacKenzie, who is entering his 11th season with the team.
Penn State is coming off their conference championship overtime win against Mercyhurst University. The Nittany Lions had a 14-1-1 season within the CHA conference and a 27-9-2 overall record. They are currently ranked as the No. 10 seed in the USA Hockey poll.
The Nittany Lions are led by head coach Jeff Kampersal who is entering his seventh season with the team. He tallied 61 wins over the last three seasons, the most in program history.
Both teams are facing brand new competition as it is the first time the two teams have played each other since the Nutmeg Classic in 2017.
UConn forward Coryn Tormala had 21 points last season with 10 goals and was the team’s assist leader with 11.
“We have a strong core coming back and, having a young team last year, we can already see those younger players stepping into new roles after having that experience,” Tormala said. “The newer players are learning fast and have been great additions to our family.”
Tormala returns for her second season as captain and fifth year with the team. She is joined by captains Ainsley Svetek, Kat Stockdale and Jada Habisch, who were announced as captains on the team’s X page (formerly known as Twitter) in April.
Habisch returns in the forward spot for her senior season. During her junior year, she had eight assists and was the team’s leading scorer with 13 goals, six of which were game-winners.
In net, junior goalie Tia Chan started 26 games, going 12-10-4. She clocked 630 saves on the season with six shoutouts. This is Chan’s third year with the team, but she missed the 2021-2022 season when she played in the Winter Olympics with Team China.
The UConn offense will face senior Josie Bothun in goal for the Nittany Lions. She holds the school’s overall record for 60 wins and 19 shutouts. Bothun was named the Most Valuable Player during the CHA championship in March.
Penn State’s second-leading scorer last season, Tessa Janecke, will return for her sophomore year. Janecke had 22 goals and 25 assists during her freshman season and was named CHA’s Rookie of the Year.
For Penn State, the season began last Saturday with a two-game series against Northeastern University. The Nittany Lions went 1-1 against the Northeastern Huskies with a game-winning goal from Alyssa Machado. Graduate defenseman Maggie MacEachern had five blocks throughout the weekend, earning her CHA Defensive Player of the Week.
The puck will drop at 6 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 29 at the Pegula Ice Arena. The second game will start at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 30.
“We know the potential we have, and we’re working towards that every day. We’re excited for the opportunity to play at Penn State and officially start the season,” Tormala said.