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Huskies Win in OT, Stun No. 9 Maine

Huskies celebrate OT game-winner. (PC: Steve Slade)
Jan. 26, 2018

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STORRS, Conn. - When No. 9 Maine scored the game-tying goal with 1:05 remaining in regulation, it would have been easy for the UConn women's ice hockey team to cruise to its ninth tie of the season.

Barely a minute into overtime, however, senior Leah Lum charged to the net and fired a shot that bounced off Maine goalie Carly Jackson, and sophomore Briana Colangelo cleaned up the mess to give the Huskies (8-11-8, 2-10-5 WHEA) their biggest win of the season by a 2-1 margin.

In what was the strongest performance of the season for UConn, it dominated the nationally-ranked Black Bears on all fronts - with no stat more telling than the 47-26 shot disparity. Senior goalie Annie Belanger made 25 saves in the win at the Mark Edward Freitas Ice Forum.

"Arguably our best effort of the year," said head coach Chris MacKenzie. "The execution of our game plan, putting a lot of shots on net - I think we got what we deserved. Give credit to Maine, I thought its goaltender played outstanding. Regardless of the result, I was happy with how our team left it on the ice."

The Huskies held a 1-0 advantage for the majority of the game, following freshman Natalie Snodgrass' team-leading 15th goal of the season at 4:01 in the first period on a power play off passes from Colangelo and freshman Morgan Wabick.

From that point on, UConn had the better of the play - outshooting the Black Bears 21-7 in the second period, though it struggled finding an insurance goal. Jackson made 45 saves for Maine, including 11 in the final period.

UConn's best chance came in the final two minutes of regulation when Maine elected to use an extra skater and take Jackson out of the net, as Lum controlled the puck and fired a shot from beyond the blue line that bounced off the left post.

Just moments later, the Black Bears tied the game at 18:55 when Michelle Weis scored from behind the UConn goal off a ricochet from Belanger's skate - sending the game to overtime yet again. Earlier this season, Maine beat UConn in overtime, 4-3, in Orono, Me.

"We knew we just had to keep going and have the energy that we did," said Colangelo about Maine tying the game. "We had to stay positive."

The Huskies didn't wait long in the extra period to score the game-winner, which came off the stick of Colangelo off a breakaway started by Lum. It was UConn's second overtime win this season - the first since beating St. Cloud State in the season-opener.

"When she (Lum) went down the ice, I knew I had to get to the net and luckily the rebound was there, so I went for it and came out with a goal," said Colangelo.

It was UConn's first win over a ranked opponent since Feb. 8, 2014 against No. 7 Boston College. Goalie Elaine Chuli made 45 saves in the 2-0 win at Freitas that day.

UConn and No. 9 Maine have a rematch scheduled for Saturday at 3 p.m. Women's basketball hosts Tulane at noon at Gampel Pavilion, so traffic on campus is expected for fans coming to the game.