STORRS, Conn. (Dec. 14, 2008) – Monique Weber (Rogers, Minn./Elk Rivers) scored the game-winning goal in the University of Connecticut women’s ice hockey team’s 3-2 victory over No. 9/10 Harvard. The Huskies extended their winning streak to five games at Mark Edward Freitas Ice Forum on Sunday afternoon. Dominique Thibault (L’Orignal, Ont./Montreal Axion NWHL) reached the 100-point career total mark less than three minutes into the game with a power-play goal. Thibault scored twice against the Crimson.
Weber scored just after a five-on-five situation ended, putting the puck past Christina Kessler immediately following the faceoff to the left of the Harvard netminder. Jennifer Chaisson (Cumberland, Ont./St. Peter Catholic) won the draw and assisted Weber’s fourth mark of the season. UConn (11-6-2, 4-4-0) held onto the 3-2 lead from the 7:34 minute mark of the third period to win the game.
Brittany Wilson (Nepean, Ont./Ottawa Inter. AA) made nine saves on the Crimson in the final period of regulation. UConn faced an extra attacker for the final 1:19 of the game after Kessler took a seat following a late Husky penalty.
Harvard (4-5-3, 4-4-2) outshot UConn 31-25 in the game and held the Huskies to just three shots on goal in the final twenty minutes. Kessler made 22 saves and lost her fifth decision of the season.
UConn obtained the lead early in the first period, capitalizing on its first power-play opportunity of the game. Thibault recorded her 100th career point when she put UConn ahead 1-0. She netted her 17th goal of the season at 2:36. The goal was assisted by Jody Sydor (St. Alberta, Alta./Sturgeon Composite).
Harvard’s Sarah Wilson tied it up at a goal apiece with less than five minutes to play in the first. Wilson went in on UConn’s Wilson with Sarah Vaillancourt skating down the lane alongside. Vaillancourt passed the puck across the ice to Wilson who hit the back of the net to tie the game, 1-1.
The score remained tied going into the first intermission despite the Crimson pressuring the Husky defense in the waning minutes of the first. Wilson made 10 saves in the first period with Harvard out-shooting UConn 11-7.
Kate Buesser gave the Crimson their first lead of the game a mere 2:21 into the second period. Liza Ryabkina and Vaillancourt had the assists on the power-play goal that gave the Crimson a 2-1 edge.
The Huskies responded about three minutes later when Thibault evened the margin (2-2) with her second goal of the game. Sydor collected the rebound from the Husky zone and passed it to Amy Hollstein (Pembroke, Mass./Lawrence Academy). Hollstein took it the length of the ice and fed the puck to Thibault scored at 5:30 in the second.
UConn continued to register shots on Kessler throughout the remainder of the second period, firing 15 pucks in the direction of the Harvard netminder, but the score remained tied, 2-2.
Weber’s mark at 7:34 put the game away for UConn although both teams exchanged solid scoring opportunities for the remainder of regulation. The Huskies denied the Crimson a shot on goal in the final 1:19 despite the extra skater.
UConn resumes play at Freitas Ice Forum with a pair of games against Hockey East opponent Vermont on Jan. 3 and 4. Both games are slated to begin at 1 p.m.
Thibault, along with Harvard’s Kessler, will spend much of the break with the U-22 Canadian Team. Both were selected to the final roster to compete in Ravensburg, Germany for the 2009 MLP Cup.
· Dominique Thibault is the second UConn women’s ice hockey player to have recorded 100 or more points in her career. Jaclyn Hawkins, now an assistant coach with the Huskies, scored 144 points in her four year career.
· This is the second victory over the Crimson in UConn program history as the Huskies improve to 4-1-1 against ECAC teams this season.
· UConn has scored at least one power-play goal in 14 of its 19 games this season and have done so in the last five-consecutive games.
· This is just the fifth time this season that the Huskies have been out-shot by an opponent. UConn has a 3-1-1 record when it is.