STORRS, Conn. – In a wild back-and-forth contest, the UConn women’s hockey team fell by a score of 5-3 to No. 7 Boston University on Saturday afternoon at Freitas Ice Forum. The contest, UConn’s ‘Skating Strides For Breast Cancer Awareness’ game, drops the Huskies to 7-15-6 on the year and 3-9-3 in Hockey East play while the Terriers improve to 17-6-2 and 12-4-0 in league action.
As part of the Skating Strides efforts, UConn presented Friends of Mel Foundation Executive Director Pauline Alighieri with a check for $10,000 raised for the foundation prior to the contest. The check was presented by Husky captain Sarah MacDonnell (Quispamsis, New Brunswick) and senior Margaret Zimmer (St. Charles, Ill.), who also performed the national anthem prior to the contest. In addition, UConn honored former Husky Laura Scarpa (’02), a breast cancer survivor, in a pregame ceremony.
UConn took three separate one-goal leads in the contest, but BU answered each with a tying goal before going ahead in the third period and icing the contest with an empty netter. Kayla Campero (Wallingford, Conn.), Kelly Harris (Canton, Mich.) and Theresa Knutson (Onalaska, Wis.) scored for the Huskies and Caitlin Hewes (Stillwater, Minn.) dished out two assists in the setback.
Boston University held a 44-21 edge in shots in the contest, while UConn won the faceoff battle, 29-26, thanks to a 14-of-20 effort from Rebecca Fleming (Newton, Mass.). Elaine Chuli (Waterford, Ontario) made 39 saves for UConn while Erin O’Neil stopped 18 shots for BU. The Huskies went 1-for-1 on the power play and the Terriers were 1-for-2.
The Huskies wasted no time getting on the board, picking up the game’s first goal 25 seconds in. After the opening faceoff was pushed back to the BU end, MacDonnell sent a pass from behind the net to Hewes at the point. Hewes worked the puck to Campero in the low slot, who hammered home her sixth goal of the year to put Connecticut up 1-0.
The Terriers answered with an equalizing goal at 12:43 of the opening frame, when Samantha Sutherland took a feed from Rebecca Russo after a scramble in front to make it 1-1. The contest went to the first intermission with that score, with BU holding a 15-8 edge in shots in the first.
UConn re-took the lead at 4:31 of the second period with Knutson’s goal. Cydnee Cook (Winnipeg, Manitoba) started a breakout with a pass to Zimmer, who fed Knutson in open ice. The freshman walked into the slot and unloaded a booming slapshot that nicked the post before crossing the goal line to give the Huskies a 2-1 advantage.
After BU tied the contest again with a Shannon Doyle goal at 10:32 of the second, UConn once again jumped ahead with a power play goal from Harris. At 13:28, Hewes sent a pass at the point to Leah Lum (Richmond, British Columbia) for a feed to Harris on the right circle. The sophomore ripped a hard tough-angle shot on goal, and after initially being slowed by O’Neil the puck trickled into the back of the net for Harris’ seventh of the year.
For the third time after UConn went ahead, BU responded to tie. After a penalty call on the Huskies late in the second, Victoria Bach popped in a power play goal at 19:16 to send the contest to the second intermission knotted at 3-3.
The Terriers upped the pressure in the third, but Chuli stood tall on a barrage of early chances. BU finally went ahead for the first time at 14:03, when Kayla Tutino scored her seventh of the year to give Boston University a 4-3 lead.
UConn pulled Chuli for an extra attacker with 1:18 remaining in regulation, and BU responded with an empty-netter at 19:39 from Russo.
The Huskies return to action on Friday, Feb. 6 when they travel to Chestnut Hill, Mass. for a showdown at No. 1 Boston College. Puck drop from Conte Forum is set for 7 p.m.