In case you missed it, the Hockey East semifinals happened today, and there could not have been a better two game slate for this championship weekend. Here’s how things shook out:
#1 Boston College vs #7 Connecticut
On Saturday, UConn became the only team seeded lower than #5 to advance to the Hockey East Championship Final. With their 4-1 defeat of Boston College, the Connecticut Huskies ensure the 2018 Hockey East trophy will be hoisted by a first-time winner. Either UConn, Northeastern, or Maine will win their first conference title in franchise history.
Freshman Daryl Watts got the offense started at the 7:40 mark in the first period, her 42nd goal of the season. Caitrin Lonergan and Toni Ann Miano assisted the power play goal.
The Huskies brought the score even roughly six minutes later as Briana Colangelo found freshman Natalie Snodgrass for the first UConn goal at the 13:07 mark. The Huskies would not relinquish the lead for the remainder of the game. The Eagles tossed five shots on goal, with Annie Belanger saving all but one. The Huskies out double the shots on goal in the first, beating Katie Burt once in ten total attempts.
Snodgrass scored four minutes into the second period, beating Burt with a slick deke to the right and a backhand flick top shelf.
In the third period, Nora Maclaine had a great attempt on Burt shorthanded, but was stuffed by the Hockey East goaltender of the year. However, the junior from Easton, MA eventually beat Burt for her first goal of the season to give the Huskies a 3-1 lead at the 9:30 mark of the third period. The Eagles struck back roughly four minutes later to bring the score to 3-2 with 8:20 left in the game. BC controlled the offense, posting 14 of their game-total 31 shots in the third. However, the Belanger and the Huskies defense were unrelenting. Belanger collected 13 of 29 saves in the final frame to lead her team to victory. Senior Theresa Knutson secured the win with an empty net goal at the 19:20 mark.
#3 Maine vs #4 Northeastern
In the late game, Northeastern punched their ticket to their second consecutive Hockey East Championship game with a 2-1 victory over the Maine Black Bears.
Scoring opened just over three minutes into the game, when Tereza Vanisova dangled past Sky Fontaine – whose stick broke in the process – and created a two-on-one with linemate Daria Tereshkina. Vanisova dished a pass through the slot to Tereshkina who was able to tap it home past Aerin Frankel.
The rest of the first period was pretty stagnant, with both teams trading penalties in the second half of the first frame.
After a late penalty kill for the Huskies, Veronika Pettey sprang from the box and found the puck in the neutral zone. She sped past a Maine defender and got a quick shot on goal, beating Carly Jackson for her tenth of the season.
The second period featured four power plays, including three for the Black Bears, but neither team was able to capitalize through the middle 20 minutes. A few chances were traded, including a few pucks off posts and crossbars, but neither team was able to find the back of the net.
It took five minutes into the third period for Northeastern to score the game-winning goal. Denisa Krizova and McKenna Brand played aggressively on the forecheck, and Brand was able to put a shot off of Jackson’s pads. Hartman swooped in and found the loose puck to the left of Jackson and tallied the game winning goal.
Maine played a ferocious third period, generating a total of 15 shots on goal, and nearly tied the game several times. Hartman ended up spending the final minute and 39 seconds in the penalty box for slashing, but Aerin Frankel was up to the task.
After today’s 2-1 victory, the Huskies have earned the right to play UConn on Sunday in the Hockey East Championship game. Puck drop is set for 1:30 p.m.