Jan. 11, 2014
BURLINGTON, Vt. – The UConn women’s hockey team (5-14-2, 2-5-1 WHEA) got goals in the first and second periods and a 32-save shutout performance from Elaine Chuli (Waterford, Ontario) to defeat Vermont (9-10-4, 5-4-1 WHEA), 2-0, on Saturday afternoon at Gutterson Fieldhouse.
Chuli, was has made at least 30 saves in each of her four starts in January, earned the first shutout for a UConn netminder since Nicole Panniccia on Nov. 20, 2011, and the first on the road since Alexandra Garcia on Jan. 21, 2011. Chuli has posted a 1.25 GAA and .969 save percentage in January.
UConn’s scoring came via goals from Rachel Farrel (Cheshire, Conn.) and Michela Cava (Thunder Bay, Ontario), with the latter a power play tally. Sarah MacDonnell (Quispamsis, New Brunswick) assisted on both goals, and the Huskies held Vermont scoreless in six power play chances. The win came despite a 32-22 advantage in shots on goal for Vermont, and UConn was 1-for-7 on the power play.
Despite Vermont holding a 14-6 advantage in shots on goal in the first period, it was UConn that struck first. At 16:02 of the opening stanza, Farrel took a feed from MacDonnell to beat Roxanne Douville and give the Huskies a 1-0 lead. Alexandra Lersch (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) was also credited with an assist on the goal, her first career point. Chuli stopped all 14 shots she faced in the first, marking the fourth straight game she has been perfect in the opening period.
A pair of UVM penalties early in the second period gave UConn a window of 5-on-3 action, which the Huskies used to extend their lead. Kelly Harris (Canton, Mich.) and MacDonnell worked the puck around the horn to Cava, who was camped at the near post. Despite her sharp angle, Cava snuck her fourth power play goal of the year past Douville to make it 2-0 Connecticut 3:36 into the second.
Emily Snodgrass (Eagan, Minn.) nearly made it a three-goal game three minutes later, picking a Vermont defender’s pocket near the UConn blue line and flying in on a breakaway, but her backhand was turned aside by Douville.
Vermont had a power play chance 17:28 into the second period, but it was negated soon after it started by a UVM penalty. The Huskies couldn’t capitalize on their brief ensuing power play chance, and the contest went to the second intermission with UConn up 2-0.
The Catamounts had a pair of quality chances seven minutes into the third period, but Chuli was there to make a save and snuff an ensuing rebound. Vermont went to the power play 9:41 into the third, and pulled Douville to gain a 6-on-4 advantage. A crease violation midway through the advantage forced Douville back to her net, but another UConn penalty allowed UVM to pull her again with eight minutes to play in regulation. The Huskies stood firm on nearly four minutes of penalty kill, keeping the score 2-0 as the clock ticked under six minutes.
The Huskies were called for a penalty 18:34 into the third, allowing Vermont to pull Douville again and go 6-on-4 for the final 1:26 of regulation. The Catamounts couldn’t connect, however, as Chuli put an exclamation point on her shutout with a pair of big saves to lift the Huskies to the victory.
Up next, UConn continues conference play when it welcomes Northeastern to Freitas Ice Forum. The Huskies from Storrs face the Huskies from Boston on Wednesday, Jan. 15 at 7 p.m.