STORRS, Conn. – Elaine Chuli tied the UConn women’s hockey single-game save record in a 5-1 win over Vermont on Saturday night at Freitas Ice Forum. The victory improves the Huskies to 5-11-6 on the year and 1-5-3 in Hockey East, while the Catamounts drop to 10-11-1 and 1-8-0 in league action.
Emily Snodgrass (Eagan, Minn.) scored two goals and Kelly Harris (Canton, Mich.) turned a two-point performance to pace the Husky offense in front of Chuli (Waterford, Ontario). The junior netminder sent aside 55-of-56 shots to tie the UConn single-game record with 55 saves and finished with a .982 save percentage. UConn also got goals from Rebecca Fleming (Newton, Mass.) and Theresa Knutson (Onalaska, Wis.) in the victory.
Overall on the night, Vermont held a 56-21 advantage in shots on goal and got 16 saves from Madison Litchfield. UVM went 0-for-4 on the power play, while UConn connected on its lone man advantage. Vermont also took home the faceoff battle, 35-28. The Huskies scored the game’s first goal and after the Catamounts tied the contest, rattled off the next four goals of the contest for their highest scoring output of the season.
After an even first half of the opening frame, the Huskies broke through for the game’s first goal at 12:42 of the first stanza. Leah Lum (Richmond, British Columbia) started a rush with a feed into Harris in the Vermont end. Harris fired a shot that was initially saved, but Fleming crashed on the doorstep and pounded home the rebound for her third goal of the season.
UConn’s lead was short-lived, as Vermont struck back to tie the contest at one at the 13:12 with a Dayna Colang goal. The contest went to the first intermission with a 1-1 score, thanks to 19 saves in the first frame from Chuli.
Vermont came out strong in the second frame, but Chuli withstood an early flurry of Catamount attempts to keep the contest tied. After a brief period of 4-on-4 hockey in the latter portion of the period, Harris gave the Huskies the lead at 16:16 with a breakway goal during an abbreviated power play.
The two sides played a stretch of 4-on-4 again in the latter stages of the second, and UConn again used the open ice to pick up a goal and stretch its lead to 3-1. Sarah MacDonnell (Quispamsis, New Brunswick) forced a turnover near the Vermont blue line and fed Snodgrass, who walked in all alone and snapped home her 10th goal of the season.
Snodgrass struck again early in the third period to stretch the Connecticut lead to three. MacDonnell and Kayla Campero (Wallingford, Conn.) were both denied on the doorstep, but Snodgrass was there to punch home the loose puck at 2:08 of the final stanza.
Chuli continued her brilliance through the latter stages of the contest, forcing Vermont to pull Litchfield on multiple occasions late. The Huskies capitalized on the empty net at 18:43, when Knutson forced a turnover in the UConn end and sent an ice-length shot into the back of the cage to seal the 5-1 victory.
UConn and Vermont conclude their weekend series tomorrow afternoon. Puck drop from Freitas is set for 3 p.m.