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TROY, N.Y. -- The UConn women's hockey team (2-3-2) concludes a seven-game road trip this weekend with its fifth and sixth straight games in New York, visiting Rensselaer (0-4-1) for two games at Houston Field House in Troy. The Huskies swept the Engineers in a two-game set in Storrs last season. UConn and RPI will play at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 25 and at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 26.
The Huskies are led on the young season by the high-scoring senior duo of forwards Emily Snodgrass (Eagan, Minn.) and Sarah MacDonnell (Quispamsis, New Brunswick). Snodgrass is tops on the squad with four goals and six points, while MacDonnell is hot on her blades with a 3-2-5 scoring line. From the blue line, freshman Leah Lum (Richmond, British Columbia) has provided some offensive punch, tallying a goal and a team-high three assists. Four other Huskies have recorded two points through the first seven contests.
In goal, Elaine Chuli (Waterford, Ontario) holds a 2-2-1 record thanks to a .931 save percentage and a 2.37 GAA. The junior earned WHEA Defensive Player of the Week after a career-high 54 saves in the season opener vs. No. 10 Minnesota Duluth on Sept. 26. She has been spelled by freshman Annie Belanger (Sherbrooke, Quebec) for a pair of starts, and Belanger has performed to the tune of a 1.45 GAA and a .950 save percentage.
The Series: Rensselaer
The Huskies and Engineers have taken to the ice 11 times in the past, with RPI up 6-3-2 in the all-time series. UConn turned its fortunes around last season, taking both ends of a two-game set at Freitas Ice Forum on Oct. 25 and 26, 2013. In the first game of the series, Kayla Campero (Wallingford, Conn.) scored an overtime winner to lift UConn to a 3-2 victory. After falling behind 2-0, Jessica Stott (Niverville, Maintoba) scored her first career goal on the power play to pull within one and Snodgrass netted a shorthanded goal to even the contest before Campero's overtime heroics. MacDonnell assisted on UConn's final two goals, and Sarah Moses recorded 38 saves in goal. The next day, the Huskies exploded offensively with five different goal scorers in a 5-2 victory to sweep the Engineers. Snodgrass (1-1-2), Brittany Berisoff (1-1-2) and Michela Cava (0-2-2) recorded multi-point outings for the Huskies and Chuli stopped 22-of-24 shots.
Exploring the Engineers
Rensselaer is 0-4-1 on the young season, most recently dropping a 2-1 decision at New Hampshire on Oct. 17. The Wildcats were the second Hockey East foe RPI has faced this season, after the Engineers went 0-1-1 in a home-and-home series with Vermont the weekend prior. Alexa Gruschow has notched two points via a goal and an assist for RPI, while Kathryn Schilter and Laura Horwood have each dished out two helpers to tie for the team's scoring lead. Gruschow is RPI's top scorer among active players, with the junior holding a 21-28-49 career scoring line. In goal, Brianna Piper and Kelly O'Brien have split time, with Piper holding a 2.61 GAA and a .918 save percentage in three starts. The Engineers have struggled on special teams in the early going, failing to convert on their first 29 power play chances while killing off 61.1 percent of their opponents' advantages. John Burke has led the RPI squad since 2003-04 after spening eight years as an assistant for RPI's men's team. Burke is Rensselaer's all-time leader in wins and went to three NCAA Tournaments as a player under the legendary Jerry York at Bowling Green.
Last Time Out
UConn went 1-0-1 on the road last weekend, defeating Colgate on Oct. 18 before tying Syracuse on Oct. 19. Against the Raiders, Snodgrass scored twice to pace the Huskies to a 2-1 win. After UConn went ahead with a first period goal, the contest was tied until a dramatic Snodgrass tally with five ticks remaining in regulation gave Connecticut the victory. Chuli stopped 25-of-26 shots to keep Colgate at bay, as UConn was a perfect 4-for-4 on the penalty kill. Against Syracuse, Theresa Knutson (Onalaska, Wis.) scored her first career goal to erase an early Orange lead, before Snodgrass notched her third goal of the weekend with a power play strike. UConn appeared destined for the victory, but an Orange goal with less than one second left on the clock forced overtime and the eventual tie. Belanger had 37 saves for the Huskies in the draw.
Following the series at RPI, the Huskies return home for the first time in October to begin Hockey East play. UConn hosts Maine on Oct. 31 for a 7 p.m. puck drop at Freitas Ice Forum.
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