STORRS, Conn. - The Connecticut women's hockey team defeated Robert Morris today at Mark Edward Freitas Ice Forum, 6-2, behind a three-point night from freshman Alexandra Vakos (Hamden, Conn.). Vakos and classmate Jenna Welch (Austin, Texas) each notched their first career goals while fellow freshman Nicole Paniccia (Oakville, Ontario) earned the victory with 26 saves. Connecticut improved to 8-13-1 while Robert Morris fell to 4-14-1 with the loss.
Robert Morris outshot Connecticut, 28-16, but it was the Huskies who capitalized on their early chances, opening the first period with a goal from senior Brittany Murphy (Tewksbury, Mass.) at 9:48. Murphy had assists from freshman Taylor Gross (Colorado Springs, Colorado) and senior Jennifer Chaisson (Cumberland, Ontario).
The Huskies were outshot the rest of the game, 23-10, but scored on half of their attempts to earn the victory. UConn scored on three of six shots in the second period to take a commanding 4-0 lead.
Welch made it 2-0 at 9:27 with her first collegiate goal with assists to junior Rebecca Hewett (Oak Bluff, Manitoba) and freshman Kiana Nauheim (Fairbanks, Alaska). Vakos put home her first collegiate goal, the game-winning strike, at 16:08 while on the power play. UConn added an insurance tally just 2:10 later with a goal from Stephanie Raithby (London, Ontario).
The third period saw much of the same as UConn scored on two of four shots in the first 2:03 of the period to take a 6-0 lead. Kelly Horan (Methuen, Mass.) put UConn up 5-0 at 1:15 before Hewett finished the scoring for Connecticut at 2:03.
The Colonials finally beat Paniccia at 11:01 on the power-play before adding a second at 11:55 but it wasn't enough as the UConn defense closed the door from then on.
Twelve different players figured in the scoring for Connecticut with the UConn special teams dominating throughout. UConn went 1-for-2 on the power play while holding Robert Morris to 1-for-7 with the man advantage. Paniccia came up big on the penalty kill, stopping nine Robert Morris shots with the Huskies a player down.
Connecticut will continue the home stand when it hosts Vermont in a pair of crucial Hockey East contests on Friday and Saturday, January 15 and 16. Puck drops at Freitas Ice forum on Friday at 7:00 with game two beginning at 4:00 on Saturday.
Following today's contest fans had a chance to Skate With The Huskies, check out the photo gallery below which has a few pictures from the event!