HYANNIS, Mass. – Elaine Chuli made 51 saves for the UConn women’s hockey team in a hard-fought 3-1 setback to No. 1 Boston College on Saturday afternoon at Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Memorial Rink at the Hyannis Youth and Community Center. The contest was the first WHEA Semifinal, with the Eagles (33-1-2) advancing to the title game while the Huskies (11-18-8) conclude their season with the loss.
The 51 stops for Chuli (Waterford, Ontario) are the second-most in any WHEA Semifinal game since the Championship began 13 years ago. She finishes her run at the 2015 Championship with 120 saves in three games, seven shy of the all-time record.
After a scoreless first period, the Eagles took a 2-0 lead early in the third period before Kayla Campero (Wallingford, Conn.) took a feed from Emily Snodgrass (Eagan, Minn.) and cut the deficit to one at 6:20 of the final frame. The goal for Campero was the 37th of her career, placing her in a tie for fifth in UConn history. The Huskies pressed forward late, but BC iced the contest with a late empty-netter to advance to the title game.
Boston College held a 54-20 advantage in shots on goal and went 0-for-3 on the power play, while the Huskies could not on their lone man-advantage opportunity. The faceoff battle was even 30-30, with Rebecca Fleming (Newton, Mass.) leading UConn with a 13-for-23 day at the dot. The Huskies blocked a whopping 28 shots to keep the contest close, led by five each from Cydnee Cook (Winnipeg, Manitoba) and Fleming.
Neither team broke into the scoring column in the first period, with each side creating several scoring opportunities. UConn’s best chance came with about three minutes remaining in the opening stanza when Margaret Zimmer (St. Charles, Ill.) fired a shot from the left circle which led to a rebound bid for a crashing Reese Maccario (Marblehead, Mass.) that was kicked aside by BC netminder Katie Burt.
The Huskies nearly struck for the game’s first goal early in the second period when Campero flew in alone on a breakaway before she snapped off a shot that beat Burt but nicked the inside of the post. BC took to the power play moments after the bid, but UConn killed off the first man-advantage for either side.
After a prolonged period of possession for the Eagles following their power play, the nation’s top team broke through with a Kaliya Johnson goal off a blast from the point at 11:19 of the second. The goal snapped a streak of 102:01 since Chuli last allowed a goal. The Eagles had two more power plays in the latter stages of the second period, but the Huskies used a series of blocked shots to survive a late BC barrage and go into the second intermission down 1-0.
The Eagles doubled their lead at 1:21 of the third period, when Alex Carpenter’s rebound was buried by Haley Skarupa to put BC up 2-0. UConn went to its first power play at 2:39 of the final stanza, but couldn’t convert despite a pair of good looks from Fleming and Snodgrass in the slot.
The Huskies cut the BC lead in half at 6:20 of the third when Campero notched her 11th goal of the season. Snodgrass started the scoring play when she forced a turnover near neutral ice and battles off a swarm of Eagles on the side-wall for a centering feed in front. Campero ghosted in and deflected the feed past a lunging Burt and pushed the score to 2-1.
UConn pulled Chuli for the final minute of regulation, and called timeout after an offsides call with 30.3 seconds remaining. Following a faceoff near the Husky blue line, Carpenter iced the contest for the eagles with an empty-netter at 19:42 of the third.
The Huskies conclude the 2014-15 season at 11-18-8, improving their win total from last season by two, their winning percentage by 11.9 percent and advancing to the WHEA Semifinals for the first time since 2010.