Jan. 18, 2014
STORRS, Conn. – Elaine Chuli (Waterford, Ontario) made 33 saves and the UConn women’s hockey team (6-15-2, 3-6-1 WHEA) got two third period goals to top New Hampshire (8-12-2, 3-5-2 WHEA) by a score of 3-1 on Saturday afternoon at Freitas Ice Forum.
Chuli’s January run of brilliance continued for the Huskies, as the keeper has now made at least 30 stops in each of her six starts this month. UConn got goals from Kayla Campero (Wallingford, Conn.), Rebecca Fleming (Newton, Mass.) and Stephanie Raithby (London, Ontario) in the win, with the latter two come in the final five minutes of the third period. Campero had a multi-point night for the Huskies with a goal and assist.
UNH held a 34-30 advantage in shots, while each team went 0-for-2 on the power play. UConn won 29-of-50 faceoffs, sparked by a sterling 14-of-17 night from Emily Snodgrass (Eagan, Minn.). Ashley Wilkes made 27 saves for the Wildcats.
The Huskies got on the board first, with Campero notching her team-high eight goal of the year 5:26 into the opening stanza. After taking a long entry feed from Cassandra Opela (Penfield, N.Y.), Campero slid into the right slot before unleashing a booming slap shot. The blast sailed top shelf over the blocker of Wilkes and into the net to make it a 1-0 game.
Rachel Farrel (Cheshire, Conn.) made a bid to make it a two-goal game off a perfect feed from Raithby in front, but Wilkes was in position to make the stop. With a minute to play in the first, UNH’s Alexis Crossley rang the post on a shot from the point and the contest went to the first intermission with UConn up 1-0. It was the sixth straight game Chuli has not allowed a first period goal, stopping 59-of-59 shots in that span.
UNH was the aggressor early in the second, but Chuli was sharp to stop point-blank attempts from Jenna Lascelle and Jessica Hitchcock. After UConn called for time 3:20 into the period to regroup, UNH’s Arielle O’Neill was called for roughing to launch a Connecticut power play, but the Huskies couldn’t capitalize. The Wildcats then went on the power play themselves after a too many men call on the Huskies, but UConn killed the penalty and kept it a 1-0 game late into the second period.
Fleming had a grade-A chance with about five minutes to play in the second, causing a turnover near center ice and sailing in alone, but her near-post bid was stuffed by Wilkes. Both teams had another crack on the power play in the final stages of the second period, and UNH had a golden chance with 50.8 seconds to play in the frame. Heather Kashman found space at the point and sent a rocket on goal, but Chuli sprawled to dive across the crease and make a brilliant glove save and keep the Wildcats off the board heading into the third period.
Connecticut came out fast in the third period, getting a number of quality looks in the early stages of the period. Michela Cava (Thunder Bay, Ontario) had two of the best chances, but Wilkes was there on each try. After coincidental minors on Cava and Kashman, UNH took advantage of the the 4-on-4 with a goal from Crossley to tie the contest at 1-1 midway through the third period.
Sarah MacDonnell (Quispamsis, New Brunswick) walked in on a two-on-one at 13:11 of the third, but her blast was snared by the glove of Wilkes. The UNH netminder made another big save moments later on a Snodgrass backhand attempt, before finally relenting the go-ahead goal. Campero fed Snodgrass deep, but flicked a shot on net. The puck bounced around near the goal line, and Fleming was there to tap it in at 15:42 and give UConn a 2-1 lead.
Raithby extended UConn’s lead to 3-1 at 17:59, taking a feed from Margaret Zimmer (St. Charles, Ill.) in front and burying her second goal of the season. UNH pulled Wilkes with 1:01 to play in the third, but it was to no avail as UConn held on to seal the victory.
UConn and UNH conclude their weekend series tomorrow afternoon at the Whittemore Center in Durham, N.H. Puck drop from New Hampshire is set for 2 p.m.