STORRS, Conn. - Coming off a sweep on the final weekend of the regular season against Merrimack, the UConn women's ice hockey team prepares to take on Providence in a best-of-three series in the Hockey East quarterfinals at Schneider Arena.
The Huskies (13-12-9, 7-11-6 WHEA), winners of six of their last eight games, enter the tournament as the seven-seed and face the two-seeded Friars (16-11-7, 12-7-5 WHEA) - who enter the weekend ranked No. 10 in the USCHO Poll.
Here is the complete weekend schedule:
One of the hottest teams in Hockey East, UConn looks to continue building on its momentum that it picked up in the final quarter of the season. The Huskies at one point had a four-game winning streak in league play (Jan. 26-Feb. 3), including three wins over ranked opponents.
In the season series with Providence, the two programs were 1-1-1 in head-to-head matchups, with each team winning a home game and a 2-2 tie at the Mark Edward Freitas Ice Forum.
Most recently, it was an overtime goal off the stick of sophomore forward Briana Colangelo that gave the Huskies a crucial 3-2 win over No. 9 Providence on Feb. 3 at home. UConn clinched a spot in the Hockey East Tournament with a 4-2 win over Merrimack this past Friday.
UConn earned 13 points in the final eight games of the regular season against league opponents and makes its sixth-consecutive appearance in the postseason tournament. The Friars lead the all-time postseason series with the Huskies, 4-1, but have not played since 2010.
— UConn Women's Hockey (@UConnWHOC) February 21, 2018
SCOUTING THE FRIARS
Providence is ranked No. 10 this week in the USCHO Poll, coming off a 1-0 win over Northeastern on Sunday at Schneider Arena. The Friars are 11-4-1 at home this season. Maureen Murphy and Brooke Boquist lead the team in points (26), with Madison Myers recording a 15-10-7 record between the pipes this year.
SENIORS WITH POSTSEASON HISTORY
Eight senior players are on the UConn roster and were part of runs to the Hockey East semifinals in both the 2015 and 2016 campaigns - two of seven all-time appearances for the Huskies in the semifinals. An upset of No. 2 Providence would lead the Huskies to their third semifinals trip in the last four years under head coach Chris MacKenzie.
Seniors Theresa Knutson and Leah Lum climbed into the top-five ranks of program history in their final season at UConn. With 49 career goals, Knutson sits third among all players, while Lum is third in career points (100) and tied for second in career assists (58). Lum reached the 100-point plateau with a goal on Senior Day against Merrimack on Saturday.
DEFENSE GETTING IT DONE
UConn boasts the top scoring defense in Hockey East, allowing just 1.97 goals per game to opponents. The Huskies rank 11th in the country when it comes to defense, including five shutouts throughout the season. In their final nine games, the Huskies held opponents to two goals or fewer (6-1-2). Entering the weekend, senior goaltender Annie Belanger ranks first in program history in save percentage (.927) and third in goals against average (2.29).
SPECIAL TEAMS IMPROVEMENT
In the first 18 games of the season, UConn had just a 16.3% power play conversion and 81.1% penalty kill rate as a team. In the final 16 games, the Huskies scored on 23.7% of power plays and killed off 87.7% of penalties. UConn currently ranks fourth in Hockey East in power play conversion (22/108, 20.4%) and third in penalty kills (94/111, 84.7%).
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