STORRS, Conn. - The University of Connecticut women's ice hockey team hosted its annual Skating Strides game at the Freitas Ice Forum on Sunday afternoon and lost to Hockey East rival Providence, 5-2. The Huskies fell to 3-18-7 overall and 2-10-3 in league play, while the Friars swept the weekend and season series to improve to 11-15-3 and 8-7-1.
Prior to the opening face-off, UConn presented a check of $10,000 to Hockey East Associate Commissioner Kathy Winters, representing the Friends of Mel Foundation, to benefit breast cancer awareness. The Huskies are the perennial leader in the Skating Strides fundraiser and this season set a program-record for funds raised.
The first period exceeded the total output from Saturday afternoon's match-up, a 2-0 PC win, as the Friars took a 2-1 lead into the first intermission. Providence scored just over two minutes into the game as senior Ashley Cottrell won a face-off on the right side and immediately put a shot on goal. Junior linemate Nicole Anderson picked up the rebound and slotted it into the net for the goal.
UConn tied the game as redshirt-sophomore defenseman Maggie Walsh (Bloomfield, Conn.) netted her third goal of the year on Connecticut's first power play of the afternoon, coming at the 5:07 mark. Junior defenseman Maude Blain (Magog, Que.) blasted a shot toward the net that was deflected by classmate Kelly Horan (Methuen, Mass.) and directed to Walsh who buried the puck into the net. It was the first power play goal for the Huskies since they scored two in a 2-2 tie at Vermont on December 4, 2011.
Late in the first, the Friars regained the lead as senior Abby Gauthier tallied the score, assisted by junior Jessica Vella.
After making just four saves on six shots in the first period, UConn senior netminder Alexandra Garcia (Pointe-Claire, Que.) was pulled in favor of sophomore Nicole Paniccia (Oakville, Ont.).
With time winding down in the second, freshman Emily Snodgrass (Eagan, Minn.) played the puck to classmate Sarah MacDonnell (Quispamsis, N.B.) at center ice. Snodgrass proceeded to skate through the Providence defense and had her initial shot saved by PC senior Genevieve Lacasse, but on her second attempt MacDonnell found the back of the net for her third goal of the season.
Providence broke the 2-2 tie 3:32 into the third on a goal by freshman defender Beth Hanrahan. Hanrahan would score again with just over two minutes to play in the game as she deflected in a shot by senior defenseman Jennifer Friedman. The Friars added one more goal on an empty net as Gauthier lit the lamp for the second time.
Paniccia finished the game with 15 saves, pushing her weekend total to 62, while Lacasse totaled 32 in the win for PC.
The Huskies return to action next Saturday with a 2:00 pm contest at Northeastern.