STORRS, Conn. – The UConn women’s hockey team was firing on all cylinders Friday in front of a packed house at the Mark Edward Freitas Ice Forum. The Huskies outshot the Catamounts 31-27 overall, but were eluded in the end, 4-2.
UConn drops its fifth straight contest and is now 11-13-3 overall with a 6-10-1 Hockey East record. Vermont improves to 11-9-7 heading into Saturday’s rematch with a 7-5-5 league record.
The Huskies outshot the Catamounts 11-6 in the first period, but trailed 1-0 going into the break.
Vermont took an early 1-0 lead after Alyssa Gorecki scored 4:35 into the game.
Less than 20 seconds after Vermont scored, UConn received the only power play opportunity of the first period after UVM’s Casey Leveillee was called for hooking.
Senior Kelly Harris (Canton, Mich.) had a shot on goal for UConn during the man-advantage, but Vermont successfully killed of the penalty to maintain its 1-0 lead.
The Catamounts scored back-to-back in the second period to take a 3-0 lead, but UConn’s leading scorer, junior Leah Lum (Richmond, B.C.) put the Huskies on the board 15:59 into the middle frame.
Vermont extended its lead 11:11 into the second after the team’s leading scorer Eve-Audrey Picard scored her 10th goal of the season. Three minutes later, Kourtney Menches sniped the puck off the face-off to give Vermont a 3-0 lead.
Lum notched her 15th goal of the season, unassisted, on a fast break after picking up a loose puck at the blue line.
Shots were even 11-11 in the second period. UConn held the overall shot advantage, 22-17, after two periods, but trailed the Catamounts 3-1 heading into the third.
Freshman Briana Colangelo (Whitby, Ont.) cut Vermont’s lead early in the third after she knocked one in off a pass from fellow rookie Catherine Crawley (Washingtonville, N.Y.) to make it 3-2 with over 15 minutes to play in the game.
Vermont regained a two-goal lead five minutes later, 9:09 into the period, with a goal from Cassidy Campeau to put the score at 4-2 with 10 minutes to play.
UConn successfully killed off a penalty 12:17 into the third after Colangelo was called for tripping. Junior goaltender Annie Belanger (Sherbrooke, Quebec) made a spectacular glove save during that penalty kill to preserve the score at 4-2. She finished with 23 saves total.
Head coach Chris MacKenzie called timeout with 3:18 left up on the clock and when the Huskies broke the huddle, Belanger remained on the bench. The Huskies battles back with a six-on-five advantage, but could not score again, leaving the final at 4-2.
The Huskies and Catamounts return to Freitas Saturday, Jan. 28 for a 2 p.m. puck-drop to close out the series.