STORRS, Conn. (Nov. 28, 2008) - The University of Connecticut women's ice hockey team (8-6-2, 3-4-0) prevailed to a 5-4 victory in the first game of this season's Nutmeg Classic on Saturday at Mark Edward Freitas Ice Forum. The Huskies defeated No. 10 Wayne State to secure their spot in Saturday's championship game for the second-straight season.
Monique Weber (Rogers, Minn./Elk Rivers High) scored her third goal of the year on the power play at 14:58 in the second period to give the Huskies a 4-2 advantage that would hold until the second intermission. Cristin Allen (Pickering, Ont./Durham Lightning AA) tallied her 10th assist of the season on the goal while Nicole Tritter (Toronto, Ont./Toronto Jr. Aeros Inter.) also had an assist for her third point of the night.
Tritter scored four minutes earlier in the second period with an assist from Jennifer Chaisson (Cumberland, Ont./St. Peter Catholic). The UConn co-captain's fifth of the season countered Wayne State's Chelsea Burnett's mark at 10:40. Tritter scored a mere 17 seconds later to regain the Husky lead (3-2). Weber added to the margin with her power play goal, giving UConn a 4-2 edge over Wayne State.
Less than a minute into the third period, Melissa Boal scored a power-play goal to bring Wayne State to within one goal (4-3) of tying the game. Nineteen minutes remained in regulation and in that time the Warriors peppered Jennie Bellonio (Guilford, Conn./Pomfret School) with 13 of their 29 shots in the game.
Dominique Thibault (L'Orignal, Ont./Montreal Axion NWHL) returned UConn to a two-goal lead with her second goal of the game at 4:17 in the third period. Thibault scored her 16th of the season with an assist from Amy Hollstein (Pembroke, Mass./Lawrence Academy). That goal would be the deciding factor as the Warriors got another past Bellonio at 12:08 in the third. Alyssa Baldin scored with the man advantage, cutting Wayne State's deficit to a single goal for the remaining eight minutes of regulation.
Baldin's goal was the final Warrior (9-3-1, 2-0-0) goal scored as Bellonio finished the game with 25 saves for her third win of the season and second this week.
The game started with Sam Poyton netting her 14th goal of the season, capitalizing on a breakaway opportunity just under three and half minutes into the game. Thibault had her own one-on-one opportunity with Delayne Brian, but was stopped by the Warrior netminder. Thibault would take Hollstein's cross-net pass and put in the top half of the net to tie the game, 1-1, at 15:01 in the first period.
Jody Sydor (St. Alberta, Alta./Sturgeon Composite) foiled Lindsay DiPietro's plan to regain the Warrior lead and the score remained 1-1 until Chaisson scored her first of the season, just over eight minutes into the second period, giving the Huskies a 2-1 lead.
Chelsea Burnett scored an unassisted goal midway through the second before Tritter and Weber each scored for the Huskies en route to the 5-4 victory.
UConn will now face Yale for the second-straight season in the Nutmeg Classic Championship game at 7 p.m. on Saturday at Freitas Ice Forum. No. 10 Wayne State and Quinnipiac will face-off in the consolation game at 4 p.m.
Yale defeated Quinnipiac 2-0 to secure its spot in the championship game for the second-consecutive year.
The Huskies have won the Nutmeg Classic twice since the event's inception and each time UConn has defeated Yale to do it.
Dominique Thibault has recorded two consecutive two goal games after scoring twice against Brown (Nov. 25) and adding a pair to her team-best total (15) against the Warriors.
UConn is undefeated this season when scoring five or more goals in a single game.
Wayne State scored twice on the power play while Monique Weber's power-play goal was the only one for the Huskies. This is the first time that UConn has been outscored by an opponent on the power play and has won the game this season.