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HAMDEN, Conn. -- The UConn women's ice hockey team (0-1-1, 0-0-0 WHEA) hits the road for the first time in 2014-15 when it travels south to take on fellow Nutmeg State opponent No. 10 Quinnipiac (0-0-0, 0-0-0 ECAC) in Hamden. The Huskies opened their season last weekend at home vs. Minnesota Duluth, while the contest marks the first of the regular season for the Bobcats. The match-up is the first of potentially two this season, as Quinnipiac will visit Storrs as part of the 2014 Nutmeg Classic in November.
The Series: Quinnipiac
The Huskies and Bobcats have skated 13 times in the past, with UConn holding a commanding 9-4-0 edge in the all-time series. Quinnipiac won the last meeting, however, a 6-1 decision in the Nurmeg Classic consolation game on Nov. 24, 2012 in New Haven. Stephanie Raithby scored UConn’s lone goal in the setback, with assists Emily Snodgrass (Eagan, Minn.) and Margaret Zimmer (St. CHarles, Ill.). Friday’s contest marks the first meeting between UConn and QU outside of Nutmeg Classic play since Nov. 7, 2003, a 2-1 win for the Huskies. The first meetings between the two squads came in 2001-02, when UConn swept QU in a two-game set that pitted the in-state rivals against each other as conference-mates in the ECAC. The Huskies moved into Hockey East the next season as a founding member of the league’s women’s division.
A Look at the Bobcats
Quinnipiac hosts UConn for its season opener, currently ranked No. 10 in the USCHO.com poll and receiving votes in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll. QU cruised to a 22-6-9 record a year ago, including a dominant 14-2-5 mark in Hamden. The Bobcats finished fourth in the ECAC regular season standings, setting a program-record for wins in the process. QU advanced to the ECAC Tournament semifinals before bowing, 6-0, at eventual national champion Clarkson. Shiann Darkangelo is Quinnipiac’s top returning scorer, posting a 23-17-40 line a year ago. Also back is Emma Woods, who finished with 25 points off 13 goals and 12 assists in ’13-14, along with Nicole Connery (6-13-19) and Cydney Roesler (3-14-17) to power what figures to be a potent offense. Goaltender Chelsea Laden returns after seeing the bulk of work in net last year, when she turned in a terrific 1.48 GAA and a .928 save percentage, recording 10 shutouts on the year. Rick Seeley is in his seventh season as the head coach at Quinnipiac and holds a 105-82-31 record there.
Last Time Out
UConn opened the season last weekend with two games in Storrs against No. 10 Minnesota Duluth. On Sept. 26, the Huskies jumped out to a 3-0 first period lead against the Bulldogs thanks to two goals from Sarah MacDonnell (Quispamsis, New Brunswick) and another from Leah Lum (Richmond, British Columbia), who also assisted on both of MacDonnell’s tallies. UMD roared back to take a 4-3 lead midway through the third period, but Zimmer connected on the power play late to even the contest and force overtime and the eventual tie. Elaine Chuli (Waterford, Ontario) was magnificient for UConn, recording a career-high 54 saves to finish one shy of the UConn single-game program record. On Sept. 27, UConn again played UMD fairly evenly, but couldn’t convert on six power play chances while Duluth scored two with the man advantage and added an empty-netter in a 3-0 victory. Following her performance in the opening series, Chuli was named WHEA Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 29.
Following the trip to QU, UConn begins a series of six consecutive road contests in upstate New York. First up is a pair at Union on Oct. 10 and 11.