STORRS, Conn. – The UConn women’s ice hockey team is set for its final regular season match-up with conference newcomer, Merrimack. The Huskies will begin the home-and-home on the road Saturday, Jan. 9 at Lawler Rink before returning home to host the Warriors Sunday, Jan. 10 at the Freitas Ice Forum in Storrs. Both games are scheduled for a 2 p.m. start.
UConn opened its 2016 slate with a 5-1 loss on the road to Northeastern, dropping the team’s overall record to 7-9-3 and conference record to 3-6-1. Junior Kelly Harris (Canton, Mich.) the team’s only goal, her first goal of the season, against Northeastern. Sophomores Justine Fredette (Winnipeg, Manitoba) and Theresa Knutson (Onalaska, Wis.) registered a point in their fourth-straight game, picking up the assists on Harris’ goal.
Fredette currently leads the team with 15 points (4g, 11a) followed by Knutson, the leading goal scorer, with 13 points (7g, 6a) and fellow classmate Leah Lum, who has nine points (1g, 8a).
Senior goaltender Elaine Chuli (Waterford, Ont.) has seen over 642 minutes between the pipes, making 435 stops for a save percentage of .948 and a 2.24 goals against average. Sophomore net minder Annie Belanger (Sherbrooke, Quebec) has spent over 488 minutes in net for the Huskies, stopping 209 pucks for a .905 save percentage and a 2.70 goals against average.
Merrimack has played two games since the start of the new year. The Warriors kicked off 2016 with a 2-1 overtime conference win on the road against Vermont. Merrimack was down 1-0 to Vermont in the third, but tied it up with 30 seconds left in regulation and then claimed the win in overtime. Most recently, Merrimack is coming off a 6-2 road loss to St. Lawrence.
The Warriors are led by three freshmen, Paige Voight stands atop the leaderboard with 16 points (8g, 8a) followed by Katelyn Rae and Paige Sorensen who are both tied at 10 points (4g, 6a). Freshman goaltender Samantha Ridgewell has seen the majority of minutes in net for Merrimack, recording over 856 minutes in goal for the Warriors and stopping 464 pucks for a .908 save percentage and a 3.29 goals against average.
UConn and Merrimack met for the first time earlier this season on November 7, 2015 and again in consolation game at the 2015 Nutmeg Classic. In the first-ever meeting, the Huskies squeaked out a 1-0 win over the Warriors at home in Storrs. Senior Brittany Berisoff (Kelowna, B.C.) scored the game-winning goal to lift the team to its first Hockey East win.
The two met for a second time in the Nutmeg Classic after UConn fell short, 1-0, Quinnipiac and Merrimack lost to tournament host, Yale. The Huskies put up four goals against the Warriors and walked away with a 4-1 victory. Knutson notched two goals, including the game-winner, for UConn. Lum and senior Margaret Zimmer (St. Charles, Ill.) added the other two.
UConn will take on conference opponent, Providence for the first time this season in a home-and-home match-up beginning on the road at Schneider Arena on Saturday, Jan. 16.