STORRS, Conn. - Freshman Dominique Thibault (L'Orignal, Ont.) scored twice and added an assist as the University of Connecticut women's hockey team topped Northeastern, 4-1, on Saturday afternoon at the Freitas Ice Forum in Storrs. The win ups UConn's record to 13-10-2 on the year and 8-4-1 in Hockey East action. NU dips to 3-21-1 overall and 2-12-1 in league play.
The opening 30 minutes of play were scoreless but the Huskies would break through just past the game's midway point. At the 10:29 mark of the second period sophomore Nicole Tritter (Toronto, Ont.) and Thibault tore through the neutral zone on a 2-on-1 break. Tritter slid home Thibault's down low pass for the game's initial tally. The Huntingtown Hounds would not stay down for long though as Ginny Berg knotted the score at 12:19 when she beat a screened UConn netminder Brittany Wilson (Nepean, Ont.) up high with a wrist shot.
After recording 18 shots on goal and one score in the first 40 minutes of play, UConn charged out of the gates in the third period, taking 16 shots on goal, burying three of them, to roll to the 4-1 win. Thibault got the rally started at the 2:48 mark when the big freshman held her ground in front of the NU net and put home the rebound of a shot by senior Leslie Hurlburt (Markham, Ont.). Another UConn freshman, Amy Hollstein (Pembroke, Mass.) made it a 3-1 game at 7:19 with her 11th goal of the year. Junior Jaclyn Hawkins (Manotick, Ont.) picked up her team-high 15th assist of the year on Hollstein's goal. UConn iced the win when Thibault scored her 12th goal of the year, and second of the day, into an empty net.
Wilson made 18 saves to earn her school-record 13th win of the year. The previous mark of 12 had been set by Kaitlyn Shain in 2004-05. Sydney Arbelbide stopped 34 shots for Northeastern. UConn played the entire game without being signaled for a penalty.
Perhaps more importantly, the game was a part of Hockey East's inaugural league-wide Skating Strides Against Breast Cancer Day and today's event in Storrs alone helped raise $4,000 for breast cancer research. The funds will be donated to the American Cancer Society and Mel's Foundation. Today, both sets of Huskies donned commemorative pink warm-up jerseys for pregame and, during the game itself, many players used with pink composite sticks courtesy of league sponsor TPS Hockey. Autographed jerseys and sticks were raffled off after the game as both teams took part in an autograph session for fans. Patrons also donated to breast cancer research at the door and hung pink skates in the Freitas Ice Forum lobby with their name on it to show their support of the event.
UConn returns to action on Sunday, Jan. 28 when the teams heads to Northeastern's historic Matthews Arena for a 2:00 p.m. contest. Winners of the first two meetings between the sides, UConn will be looking for only its second-ever season sweep of a Hockey East opponent and first over the Huntington Hounds. Last year, UConn won all three meetings against Vermont.