STORRS, Conn. - The UConn women's hockey team (7-16-2, 4-7-1 WHEA) got goals from three players and 36 saves from Elaine Chuli (Waterford, Ontario) to erase an early 1-0 deficit and defeat Providence (10-16-0, 5-8-0 WHEA), 3-1, on Saturday afternoon at Freitas Ice Forum.
The Huskies fell into a 1-0 deficit after an early first period goal, but got second period goals from Stephanie Raitbhy (London, Ontario) and Rachel Farrel (Cheshire, Conn.) to take the lead, before Kayla Campero (Wallingford, Conn.) sealed the win with a third period strike. Chuli stood on her head to overcome a 37-19 shot advantage for Providence, and the Friars won 33-of-61 faceoffs. UConn went 1-for-3 on the power play, holding Providence 0-for-2.
Providence wasted no time getting on the board in the first period, scoring just 28 seconds into regulation. After Chuli stopped a pair of initial blasts, Brittney Thunstrom found a loose puck in front of the net and buried it to make it a 1-0 game.
The Huskies made a bid to equalize midway through the first period, when Margaret Zimmer (St. Charles, Ill.) sent a centering pass to Leah Buress (Windsor, Ontario) on the rush, but Buress' redirection was snuffed out by Bryant. Campero had a breakaway bid broken up by an alert poke check at the tail end of the first, and PC took its 1-0 lead to the first intermission. The Friars held a 15-3 edge in shots on goal after a period.
Farrel found some space to fire a shot on goal in the first minute of the second period, but Bryant squeezed the clean look. PC had a series of chances about five minutes into the frame, but an end-to-end rush by Kendra Goodrich and a shot in front by Allison Micheletti were both saved by Chuli. Maggie Pendleton then rang the post on a blast from the point before UConn cleared.
At 7:14 of the second period, UConn found its equalizer. Captain Erin Burns (Listowel, Ontario) started the play by flipping the puck into the Providence zone. Raitbhy fielded it there all alone, walking in before winding up and blasting a shot past Bryant to tie the contest at 1-1.
After a Providence holding call at 11:16, UConn used its power play to gain the lead. Kiana Nauheim (Fairbanks, Alaska) cycled the puck near the blue line to Alice Hughes (La Canada, Calif.). Hughes sent it to Farrel on the side of the net, who pushed her seventh goal of the year past Bryant from the tough angle to make it 2-1 at 12:15.
Chuli made a flashy glove save on an open look from PC's Victoria Virtue late in the second period, and snared a whistling blast from the point off the stick of Lexi Romanchuk in the final minute. UConn took its 2-1 lead into the third period, despite PC leading 25-13 in shots on goal.
The Huskies tacked onto their lead just 1:25 into the third period. Emily Snodgrass (Eagan, Minn.) tapped a loose puck near the right circle to the stick of an awaiting Campero, who sent a hot slapshot past traffic and into the cage for her ninth goal of the season to make it 3-1.
Both sides traded power play chances in the middle stage of the third period, with neither converting thanks to some sharp saves by Chuli and aggressive forechecking from the Friars. Raithby tried to tally her second of the day at the 11:00 mark, but her first shot in front was blocked and her second sailed wide. Campero went off for checking at 11:57, but Chuli stood tall on a Rebecca Morse blast and the Huskies got an easy kill.
After Chuli stuffed Morse on an end-to-end attempt at 17:40 of the third, the Friars took their timeout and pulled Bryant. However, PC was forced to return her after only three seconds when Cassidy Carels was called for interference. UConn didn't convert on its subsequent power play, but effectively used it to milk the clock and seal the 3-1 victory.
UConn and Providence conclude their season and weekend series tomorrow afternoon with a 2 p. m. tilt at PC's Schneider Arena.