STORRS, Conn. – Elaine Chuli made 51 saves in a 2-1 overtime setback for the UConn women’s hockey team against No. 5 Clarkson on Friday night in the semifinals of the 2014 Nutmeg Classic at Freitas Ice Forum. The loss drops the Huskies to 3-10-5 on the year, while the Golden Knights improve to 11-4-1.
The Huskies took a 1-0 lead on the defending national champions in the second period after a Kayla Campero (Wallingford, Conn.) goal and led into the third period thanks to the tremendous effort from Chuli (Waterford, Ontario). Clarkson tied the contest with under seven minutes remaining in regulation before eventually finding the overtime winner. The victory advances CU to the Nutmeg Classic title game, where it will meet No. 4 Quinnipiac tomorrow at 7 p.m. in Storrs.
Overall for the contest, Clarkson held a 53-12 advantage in shots on goal, including a 40-5 edge over the final two periods and overtime. Neither team connected on the power play, with CU going 0-for-4 and UConn taking an 0-for-3. Captain Shannon MacAulay scored both goals for Clarkson, while Shea Tiley made 11 saves.
UConn went to the power play at 2:53 of the opening stanza and nearly picked up the game’s first goal. A good cycle set Sarah MacDonnell (Quispamsis, New Brunswick) up for a one-time blast from the slot that was saved, before a strong rebound bid from Brittany Berisoff (Kelowna, British Columbia) was blocked in the crease. Clarkson took a turn with the man advantage at 9:30 of the frame, but the UConn penalty killers stood tall to keep the contest scoreless early.
Midway through the second, Chuli made a pair of masterful saves on Clarkson’s Genevieve Bannon and MacAulay before the Huskies broke out on a counter that led to the game’s first goal. Leah Lum (Richmond, British Columbia) worked the puck to MacDonnell in front, before a scramble in the crease led to Campero burying her third goal of the year at 12:16 to give UConn a 1-0 lead.
Clarkson opened the third period with a full power play after a penalty in the final moments of the second, but UConn was able to secure the kill and allowed only one shot on goal during the advantage. The Huskies killed another Golden Knight power play early in the frame, then went a man-up themselves at 7:29. UConn nearly doubled its lead when a blocked shot set MacDonnell up in font, but her bid was saved by Tiley.
UConn bench boss Chris MacKenzie used his timeout at the 12:40 mark of the third period, before Clarkson tied the game at 13:03 with a goal from MacAulay. After a feed from Erin Ambrose, the Clarkson captain fired a shot from the point that snuck over the glove of Chuli and into the net for her 13th goal of the season.
Neither team could find a winner in the waning moments of regulation, forcing an overtime period. During the extra frame, MacAulay picked up her second of the day at 2:56 to win it for Clarkson and advance the Golden Knights to the Nutmeg Classic title game.
UConn returns to the ice tomorrow in the Nutmeg Classic consolation game, where it will take on Yale for third place in the tournament. Puck drop from Freitas Ice Forum is set for 3 p.m.