This weekend marked an impressive performance by the UConn women’s hockey team. Connecticut took on Hockey East rival Northeastern and walked away with two key victories for their season.
Game one took place in Boston, and UConn looked to break away early. Playing in her 100th career game, senior Jada Habisch was able to do just that. Taking on goalkeeper Gwyneth Philips, Habisch found a gap and gave Connecticut the 1-0 advantage. It was her third goal of the season but not her last of the weekend.
In the second period, UConn capitalized on the power play. As time winded down to less than 10 seconds on the penalty, Brianna Ware set herself up to take the shot and fired into the bar of the net, knocking the puck in for her first goal of the year. Northeastern is highly regarded as one of the best power play-killing teams, with Ware’s goal being just the second power play goal they have given up this season.
A third period empty netter by Brooke Campbell raised the lead to three as UConn took the win against Northeastern, the first time they’ve done so since 2018.
Goalie Megan Warrener made 23 saves to earn her third win and second shutout of the year.
UConn looked to carry the momentum of their win on Friday and sweep Northeastern in a weekend series for the first time since January of 2009. At home on Saturday, they made it happen.
A much cleaner and competitive game all around, neither team had any power play opportunities at all. Both teams traded shots, but UConn’s Tia Chan and Northeastern’s Philips stood strong in net. Through two periods, each team survived without allowing the other to score.
More than halfway through the third, UConn had one of their best chances of the night. In UConn’s zone, Northeastern’s Kristina Allard lost control of the puck and fell over, creating a two-on-one opportunity for UConn. Riley Grimley took the puck down the ice with Habisch on her left. Grimley fired a shot that ricocheted off Philips and hit the skate of Habisch. The puck then slid into the net to hand UConn the first lead of the game with less than five minutes to go. A review of the play confirmed the goal and proved to be all UConn needed to sweep Northeastern.
Chan picked up her second win and shutout of the year with 22 saves. Philips, the 2023 National Goalkeeper of the Year, made 18 saves of her own. Coming off of a season where she suffered just three losses, these games against UConn already mark her fifth and sixth so far in 2023-24.
Now nine games into the season, Habisch leads all of UConn with four goals while captain Coryn Tormala leads the team with seven points (two goals, five assists). UConn is starting to build a winning streak with four straight wins and hold an overall record of 5-3-1. The wins also improve their conference record to above .500 at 4-3-0.
The story of the weekend was the incredible goaltending by both of UConn’s goalies. Prior to this weekend, the last time that UConn was able to beat Northeastern came during the 2017-2018 season. There were 16 losses and one overtime loss between UConn’s win on Friday and their last win in February 2018. Warrener and Chan were able to keep Northeastern scoreless in both appearances.
These teams will face off at least one more time before the season ends when UConn takes another trip up to Boston on February 9th. If UConn takes that game, it’ll be their longest winning streak since 2006 to 2007, when Connecticut won six straight games.
With the wins, UConn takes over second place in the Hockey East standings, gaining six points over the weekend. Northeastern drops down to fifth place, trailing third by two points.
UConn looks to take advantage of the momentum they’ve built this weekend in Orono, Maine this Friday and Saturday. The Maine Black Bears are currently at the bottom of the Hockey East standings but picked up a win against No. 14 Boston College on Friday. Maine gave UConn a hard time last season when they won two out of the three meetings, including a thrilling 4-5 finish in late January.
Both Friday and Saturday’s games are set for 2 p.m. UConn fans can follow along on ESPN+.