BOSTON - Junior Chloe Desjardins (21 saves) notched her second shutout of the season as the Northeastern women's hockey team (15-13-2, 10-6-2 WHEA) clinched home-ice advantage in the Hockey East Quarterfinals with a 3-0 victory over Connecticut on Saturday at Matthews Arena.
Senior Claire Santostefano (Wilmette, Ill.), freshman Hayley Scamurra (Williamsville, N.Y.) and senior Katie MacSorley (Stratford, Ontario) scored for the Huskies, who defeated Connecticut (9-20-2, 6-11-1 WHEA) for the ninth consecutive game and extended their Hockey East winning streak to seven straight contests.
Northeastern controlled the game from start to finish, but could not break through until the 17:55 mark of the second period when Santostefano banged home a rebound off a point-shot from sophomore Tori Hickel (Anchorage, Alaska). The Huskies then tacked on two goals in a span of 18 seconds early in the third to chase UConn netminder Elaine Chuli (31 saves) in favor of backup Sarah Moses (9 saves). All three goals came in an interval of 3:48 spanning the second and third periods.
Desjardins (Saint-Prosper, Quebec) was solid throughout as the Huskies allowed just 10 shots on goal through the first two periods and only 21 for the game. Northeastern's offense registered a season-high 43 shots and went 1-for-3 on the power play, while holding UConn scoreless on its four man-advantage opportunities.
The Huskies came close to opening the scoring seven minutes into the first period when MacSorley beat Chuli with a wrister from the left circle, but the shot hit the crossbar and stayed out.
Chuli then did well to track a deflected shot by Scamurra in the opening minute of the second stanza, before shutting down redshirt senior Brittany Esposito (Edmonton, Alberta) on the rebound in tight.
Northeastern finally solved Chuli after some hard work in the offensive zone. Sophomore Paige Savage (Johns Creek, Ga.) scooped up a loose puck in the corner and threw a pass back to the point to Hickel. The sophomore fired a quick shot that went wide to the right of the net, but bounced hard off the boards back into the slot where Santostefano was waiting for her first goal of the season with 2:05 to play in the frame.
The hosts promptly added some insurance with a power-play goal just 1:25 into the third when the puck glanced off Scamurra's stick in front after a Kelly Wallace (Libertyville, Ill.) shot hit the post following a scramble in the Connecticut crease.
Northeastern then tacked on a third goal just 18 seconds later when Santostefano won an offensive zone draw to the left of the UConn net to Savage, who tipped a pass to MacSorley for a quick wrister that deflected off a defender and inside the right post to make it 3-0.
Desjardins held the fort at the other end, turning aside 11 UConn shots in the third period, including a tough stop on an Emily Snodgrass one-timer with 9:40 remaining.
The teams will close out the regular season series on Sunday at 2 p.m. at Matthews Arena.
- Northeastern has clinched a top-four seed and home-ice advantage in the Hockey East Quarterfinals; the Huskies can finish as high as second in the standings with three games remaining.
- Santostefano scored her first goal since Dec. 1, 2012 against New Hampshire.
- Santostefano notched her third career multi-point game.
- MacSorley scored her fifth career goal against UConn (12 games).
- Desjardins recorded her sixth career shutout.
- Northeastern set a new season high with 43 shots on goal; its previous best was 42 against Dartmouth on Nov. 29, 2013.
- The Huskies have now won the season series against UConn, Vermont, Maine and Providence.