STORRS, Conn. - Sarah MacDonnell scored a pair of goals and added an assist for the UConn women's hockey team in a 4-4 tie against No. 10 Minnesota Duluth on Friday night in the season opener at Freitas Ice Forum. Both teams go to 0-0-1 on the season after the result.
MacDonnell (Quispamsis, New Brunswick) scored twice in a three-goal first period for the Huskies. Freshman Leah Lum (Richmond, British Columbia) assisted on both goals and also scored in the opening frame. Margaret Zimmer (St. Charles, Ill.) also tallied for the Huskies with a third period power play goal, and Elaine Chuli (Waterford, Ontario) made a career-high 54 saves in goal. Chuli finished one shy of the UConn single-game record for saves.
For Minnesota Duluth, Lara Stalder and Ashleigh Brykaliuk each scored twice, and Kayla Black made 13 saves. The Bulldogs erased an early 3-0 UConn lead and went ahead at 4-3 in the third period, but the Huskies responded to tie and force overtime.
The Huskies wasted no time getting on the board, connecting in the game's first 30 seconds. Lum played the puck along the far side wall to MacDonnell, who ghosted in on the UMD net. MacDonnell slotted a shot towards the bottom corner of the cage, beating Black to her pad side.
UConn potted its second of the game midway through the second period. During a 4-on-4 after penalties to both sides, Lum set up a breakaway chance with a long pass to Allie Hughes (La Canada, Calif.), who had her initial backhand saved. With the rebound loose, MacDonnell laid out in front and got a piece of the puck before Lum punched home her first career goal at 11:48 of the first period.
Three minutes later, MacDonnell and Lum connected again. Lum delivered a pass from the UConn zone to MacDonnell crossing the UMD blue line, and the Husky captain fired a slapshot from the left circle that beat Black top shelf. The Huskies took their 3-0 lead to the locker room for the first intermission, thanks in part to 18 saves in the first from Chuli.
Chuli was sharp in helping the Huskies kill two power plays early in the second period, but the Bulldogs tallied on their third man-advantage of the frame. Michelle Lowenhielm and Tea Villila circled the puck to Lara Stalder, who blasted a shot past Chuli. UMD struck again at 17:08 in the period, when Ashleigh Brykaliuk buried a Jenna McParland rebound to cut the lead to 3-2.
Early in the third frame, Stalder buried her second of the game to tie the contest at 3-3. MacDonnell nearly found her third of the night midway through the period, but her point-blank save was gloved by Black.
UConn went on the power play with about six minutes remaining in the third period, creating a flurry of action. Minnesota Duluth struck first during the advantage, with Brykaliuk grabbing her second of the night shorthanded to give the Bulldogs their first lead.
The Huskies answered right back, clicking on the power play. Emily Snodgrass (Eagan, Minn.) cycled the puck to Brittany Berisoff (Kelowna, British Columbia), who found Zimmer waiting backdoor to punch home the power play tally and tie the contest. Neither team could find a winner in regulation, and the game went to overtime.
The Bulldogs threatened early in the extra frame, but a series of alert defensive plays by Lexi Lersch (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) kept them at bay. Snodgrass made a bid for UConn in the game's final minute, but Black made the save to seal the tie.
UConn and Minnesota Duluth return to the ice to conclude their season-opening series tomorrow afternoon. Puck drop from Storrs is set for 3 p.m.
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