Women's hockey: UConn takes on hefty challenge of No.1 BC
Published: Thursday, February 6, 2014
Updated: Thursday, February 6, 2014 23:02
Heading into the last six games of the season, the schedule for the UConn women’s hockey team continues to be challenging.
Playing in the best conference in the country, every Hockey East game is going to be a challenge. The Huskies will welcome the first place Boston College Eagles (20-4-3) on Saturday afternoon and then quickly turn around and head north to take on the New Hampshire Wildcats (9-16-2) on Sunday.
“We have had to battle every weekend this year so these opponents are no exception,” head coach Chris MacKenzie said. “To be successful we have to rely on everyone to do their job, have sound defense and win the special teams game.”
The first game of the weekend for the Huskies will be one of the toughest games UConn has played this season. Now that it is late in the season, this is the time period in which the good teams start to gain their stride, heading into the postseason. Boston College is on of those teams.
The Eagles rank first in Hockey East in both goals per game (4.06) and goals allowed per game (1.75). Over their past 10 games, BC has gone 8-0-2 and have outscored their opponents by 20 goals in that span.
“We have to play physical without taking penalties, block shots and not give them second and third opportunities to score,” MacKenzie said about what his team needs to do to be successful against Boston College.
The Eagles are coming off a 4-1 victory over Boston University in the semi-finals of the 36th annual Bean Pot Tournament and will face Northeastern in the finals on Feb. 11.
The last time out, the Eagles swept the weekend series, outscoring the Huskies 9-4.
Unlike the Eagles, the Wildcats have been in a bit of a struggle as of late. Over their last 10 games, New Hampshire is 3-7-0 and have been outscored by their opponents by 11 goals. Although struggling, they should not be taken lightly. New Hampshire leads the Hockey East in penalty kill percentage, killing off 55 out of 59 penalties (93.2 percent).
New Hampshire has done something that UConn has not done this year, and that is defeat Boston College. The Wildcats upset the Eagles 3-1 back on Oct. 16. New Hampshire also beat the Eagles last season 4-3.
Less than a month ago, the Huskies and Wildcats split the weekend series. UConn won the first game 3-1 and New Hampshire was able to get revenge in the second game, earning a 3-2 win to split the series.
After this weekend the Huskies only have four more games before the Hockey East tournament. They have lost three games in a row so it is pivotal that they gain some momentum this weekend leading them into the final two weekends of the season.
Puck drop on Saturday is a 2:00 p.m. at the Mark Freitas Ice Forum.