Feb. 28, 2014
BOSTON - Elaine Chuli (Waterford, Ontario) made 34 saves and Sarah MacDonnell (Quispamsis, New Brunswick) scored her team-high 12th goal of the year but the UConn women's hockey team was felled by two goals in the final three minutes and lost to Northeastern, 2-1, on Friday night in the WHEA Quarterfinals at Matthews Arena.
The sixth-seeded UConn squad jumped ahead early in the third period, before the third-seeded Northeastern squad scored twice in a span of1:06 deep in the final frame to go ahead 2-1. NU's game-tying goal came on its fifth power play of the night and fourth of the third period, with Northeastern going 1-for-5 with the man advantage. UConn was 0-for-5 on the power play and was out-shot 36-27.
MacDonnell made UConn's first bid barely a minute into the contest, catching the side of the net on a blast directly off a faceoff in the NU zone. Northeastern nearly broke the early draw second later, but Katie MacSorley's attempt rang the post.
After UConn killed a Northeastern power play midway through the first, Rachel Farrel (Cheshire, Conn.) made a bid for Connecticut around the 14-minute mark that was saved by Desjardins. Chuli made a lunging save on a shot from NU's Brittany Esposito with under three minutes to play in the frame, and the contest went to the first intermission with no score. Northeastern held a 13-6 edge in shots on goal after a period, but Chuli kept UConn in it with 13 saves.
Esposito had a golden chance for NU at 2:45 of the second period, but Chuli dove across her crease to corral the shot on the doorstep. UConn went to the power play at 9:40, and had a strong look when Kayla Campero (Wallingford, Conn.) ripped a slapshot from the slot that was snagged. Connecticut went back on the advantage at 13:14, but lost it quickly after a hooking call. Neither team mustered much of a chance during the ensuing 4-on-4, before UConn killed off the brief NU power play that followed.
The five-on-five was short-lived, with UConn returning to the power play at 16:25 after a checking call on Northeastern. It appeared briefly that Emily Snodgrass (Eagan, Minn.) had put Connecticut on the board, but the goal was waved off due to the puck being trapped in Desjardins pad. The contest went to the third scoreless, with UConn garnering a 10-7 edge in shots in the second stanza.
Chuli came up big on a series of chances early in the third period, turning aside two point blank looks and follow-up rebounds. MacDonnell finally broke the deadlock at 6:08 of the third, connecting on her 12th goal of the season. Michela Cava (Thunder Bay, Ontario) started the scoring play by deking in front and aiming a shot on goal. The puck bounced around near the goalmouth, tipping off the stick of Rebecca Fleming (Newton, Mass.) before MacDonnell punched it home.
The teams traded penalties in the middle portion of the third, with UConn going on the power play for 54 seconds at 13:10. Connecticut was unable to convert during the brief advantage, and Northeastern went back to the power play at 14:51. Chuli was up to the task on a series of strong NU chances with the advantage, and UConn got the kill.
Northeastern went right back on the power play after a tripping call at 17:29, and NU used its timeout. The call turned out to be a good one, with Sonia St. Martin tying the game at 1-1 with a shot from the point seven seconds into the power play.
Barely a minute later, Esposito put Northeastern on top with a goal at 18:59 of the third period. UConn called timeout following the goal and pulled Chuli to gain a 6-on-4 edge with a later power play for 38.9 seconds, but couldn't convert.
The loss ends UConn's season, with the Huskies tripling their win total from a year ago. Overall, Connecticut finished 9-24-2 and tied for fifth in the final Hockey East standings with a 6-14-1 league record.