STORRS, Conn. – Despite two goals from junior Leah Lum (Richmond, B.C.), the UConn women’s ice hockey team fell short of Northeastern 3-2 in UConn's Skating Strides game Friday at the Mark Edward Freitas Ice Forum.
UConn dropped to an even 11-11-3 overall record with a 6-8-1 Hockey East showing, while Northeastern picked up its 10th league victory and is now 14-9-3 overall and 10-7-2 in league games.
Junior goaltender Annie Belanger (Sherbrooke, Quebec) made 27 stops Friday, including 12 in the second period.
Three goals in the first 10 minutes started the game off on an exciting note.
Northeastern took the first lead 3:47 into the game on its only power play opportunity of the game. Sophomore Rebecca Lindblad (Winnetka, Ill.) was called for hooking 2:27 into the game, which was UConn’s only penalty of the night.
NU’s Paige Savage capitalized on the power play to put Northeastern up 1-0 early on. Lum tied the game up with her first goal of the game less than five minutes later.
Freshman Briana Colangelo (Whitby, Ont.) broke the play out of the UConn defensive zone with a pass up to classmate Catherine Crawley (Washingtonville, N.Y.), who fed it all the way up the ice from behind the red line into the offensive zone where Lum picked it up and buried it home at 7:38 to tie it 1-1.
Less than one minute later, Northeastern regained the lead on a wrap-around goal from Denisa Krizova to put the rival Huskies ahead 2-1. After an exciting start to first period, the remaining 11 and half minutes were scoreless between the two Husky foes.
Lum grabbed her second goal of the game 9:24 into the second period to knot the score up once again, 2-2.
After picking off a pass at the blue line, Lum took the puck down on a breakaway, deked the goalie left and pulled the puck cross-crease to tuck it past NU goaltender Brittany Bugalski. Lum now has a total 13 goals and 21 points this season.
NU claimed a one-goal lead for a third time 15:02 into the second period. Northeastern’s McKenna Brand found the eventual game-winner after she squeaked one past Belanger.
Belanger made a pivotal breakaway save less than one minute later to keep the Huskies within one after two. Northeastern led 3-2 going into the second ice-cut.
The Huskies and the rival Huskies were scoreless in the third period. UConn had two power play chances in the final frame, but was unable to find a third equalizer.
UConn called timeout with 3:27 up on the clock. After play resumed, Connecticut pulled Belanger for a six-on-five advantage with just minutes to go.
Lum fired several last-minute efforts on net, but they were all blocked by the NU defense.
The battle of the Huskies continues tomorrow, Jan. 21 as UConn travels to Boston to close out the home-and-home series against Northeastern at Matthews Arena.