Women's hockey: UConn plays final weekend series of the regular season
Published: Thursday, February 20, 2014
Updated: Thursday, February 20, 2014 23:02
The UConn women’s hockey team will look to notch its first 10-win season in two years when it takes on the Maine Black Bears in its final weekend series of the regular season.
This season has been an improvement for the Huskies (9-21-2, 6-12-1 Hockey East) under first-year coach Chris MacKenzie. MacKenzie has done an outstanding job of rebuilding the program from where it was a year ago. The Huskies matched their entire win total from last year just seven games into this season, and with one win this weekend, they will grab their first double-digit win season since 2010-11.
“If the season ended today it would be a step in the right direction,” MacKenzie said. “It would be nice to get double-digit wins and kind of go from there. I don’t know if the team is thinking about that or not, it’s really just playing the best we can and go from there.”
UConn needs to be at their best this weekend, as there is tournament positioning on the line. UConn, Providence, New Hampshire and Maine all sit within four points of each other in the bottom half of the Hockey East standings, and the No. 5 through No. 8 seeds are up for grabs, making this weekend crucial for how the playoffs will set up next weekend.
“We’re trying for the most points we can get,” MacKenzie said. “We’re trying to win games and play the best we can because we’re going to be in the playoffs next week. Is it important? Absolutely. We’re just looking at trying to win both games.”
This Saturday, in the regular season finale, four members of the Huskies will be honored for their time with the women’s hockey program. Erin Burns, Sarah Moses, Kiana Nauheim and Stephanie Raithby will suit up on home ice for Senior Day for the last time in their college careers, and MacKenzie said that nothing would be better than to send them off with two victories.
“I think that’s the idea behind this weekend,” MacKenzie said, “to honor our graduating seniors and try to send them off on a good note at home.”
UConn and Maine (5-19-5, 3-13-3) played to a 4-4 tie back on Nov. 3. The Huskies scored four goals in the third period to complete the comeback against the Black Bears. Elaine Chuli made 33 saves in net and the Huskies received goals from Burns, Kayla Campero and two from Michela Cava.
UConn will be on the road next weekend in the playoffs no matter what, but with two wins this weekend against Maine, UConn will secure the fifth seed in Hockey East. Both games start at 2 p.m. this weekend at the Mark Edward Freitas Ice Forum.