Continuing Hockey East play, the No. 12 UConn Huskies are set to take on Holy Cross in a home-and-home series starting this Friday night.
UConn and Holy Cross currently sit on opposite ends of the Hockey East standings with the Huskies in second and the Crusaders back in ninth. UConn is just one point below first place Boston College and will look to overtake that gap this weekend with a good series against Holy Cross.
The Huskies come into the series the hottest they’ve been in the young season so far, winning each of their last six games to improve to an overall record of 7-3-1 on the year. Most importantly, all of those wins came against Hockey East opponents. UConn beat New Hampshire and Providence, then took two from both Northeastern and Maine in back-to-back weekends.
Against Maine last weekend, it was all Jada Habisch for Connecticut. After scoring the lone goal in Friday night’s contest to give UConn its first victory, she tacked on two more in Saturday’s contest. Following a power play goal by Brooke Campbell, Habisch scored twice in the third period to seal the win for the Huskies. She is currently tied with Natálie Mlýnková of Vermont for most goals in Hockey East play with seven each. Tia Chan started in goal for both games, making 21 saves in game one and 34 in game two, allowing just one score across the two matchups. The shutout in Friday night’s contest marked her third shutout of the year. One thing to note, Ashley Allard, Habisch and Riley Grimley of UConn currently rank first to third in the Hockey East play respectively in regard to plus/minus.
As for Holy Cross, they’ve begun to find their footing recently. To open the year, the Crusaders lost four of their first five but have played well against tough competition. They have shootout victories over Boston College and Merrimack, and wins against Northeastern and Vermont, who were both ranked at the time. Holy Cross’ main point of attack is via the power play. In conference play, they have nine power play goals including three coming off their weekend series against Merrimack. Sophomore Alexis Perry is tied with Maine’s Ann-Frederique Guay in power play goals in Hockey East play with three. In fact, all of Perry’s goals on the season have come on power plays.
UConn’s penalty kill performance is what will determine the winner of this weekend. The Huskies have the third highest kill percentage in Hockey East play with 86.4%, but this Crusaders offense thrives in those situations. Limiting power play opportunities and squandering any chances during penalties should be the Huskies’ main point of focus going into the weekend set.
The series begins this Friday in Storrs, Connecticut at the Toscano Family Ice Forum with gametime set for 6 p.m. Saturday’s game will have the Huskies travel up to Worcester, Massachusetts to face Holy Cross on the road, with another 6 p.m. start. If you are unable to attend, both games will be available to watch on ESPN+.