STORRS, Conn. — Gina Kearns netted the game-winning goal in overtime as the Boston University women’s hockey team rallied from a two-goal deficit in the third period to top Connecticut, 3-2, on Thursday night at the Freitas Ice Forum in Storrs. The loss drops the Huskies to 11-9-1 on the year and 7-4-1 in Hockey East play. The Terriers improve to 12-7-2 overall and 4-5-1 in league action.
The scoreless opening period was evenly played as both teams registered seven shots on goal and shared time in each other’s offensive zone. The Huskies enjoyed a 12-1 advantage after 20 minutes of play in face off wins though. The Huskies played their best hockey in recent games early in the third period as they peppered BU netminder Melissa Haber with five power play shots in the stanza’s opening minute, but Haber turned them all away, leaving the game scoreless.
The Huskies broke the deadlock at the 13:11 mark of the second period when Liz Gallinaro (Amherst, Mass.) slid a pass from the near boards across the goal mouth to an eagerly awaiting Jaclyn Hawkins (Manotick, Ont.) who redirected the pass into the open far side of the Terrier net for her team-leading 14th goal of the season. Defenseman Brianna Uliasz (Chalfont, Pa.) also picked up an assist on the play after feeding the puck up the boards to Gallinaro. UConn expanded its lead to 2-0 just 1:06 into the third period on the stanza’s very first shot. Freshman Dominique Thibault (L’Orignal, Ont.) netted her eighth score of the season by firing the puck from a tight angle near the goal line past Haber and into the net off of the far post. Thibault was playing in her first game back in a UConn uniform after spending a week in Germany helping the Canadian National Under-22 Team win the gold medal at the European Air Canada Cup.
The Terriers would not go quietly though as they took advantage of UConn’s third period penalties to score a pair of power play goals and tie up the game. Erin Seman scored at 7:05 and Jonnie Bloemers struck at 17:26, both after scrambles for loose pucks in front of the UConn net, the first on the rebound of a Genevieve Laing shot and the latter after a failed wrap-around by Cara Hendry. The teams went to overtime tied at 2-2, just as they did in Storrs on Nov. 19. But, while that game ended in a tie, Thursday night would not see history repeat itself. As UConn was switching its lines after a long defensive shift, Kearns stole the puck from senior defenseman Natalie Vibert (Thunder Bay, Ont.) and beat Husky netminder Brittany Wilson (Nepean, Ont.) with a quick snap shot through the five-hole.
Wilson went the distance in net for UConn making 25 saves while Haber stopped 28 shots for the Terriers. BU went 2-for-5 on the power play while the Huskies were scoreless in four chances.
UConn returns to action on Saturday, Jan. 13, when the Huskies play host to No. 4 Dartmouth at 2:00 p.m.