STORRS, Conn. - The UConn women's hockey team held an early lead but Maine scored the final five goals to secure a 5-2 win on Saturday afternoon in the regular season finale at Freitas Ice Forum. The game was UConn's Senior Day, and Erin Burns (Listowel, Ontario), Sarah Moses (New Hamburg, Ontario), Kiana Nauheim (Fairbanks, Alaska) and Stephanie Raithby (London, Ontario) were honored prior to their final contest in Storrs.
The Huskies jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period thanks to goals from Michela Cava (Thunder Bay, Ontario) and Susan Cavanagh (Warwick, R.I.). The goal for Cava represents her 10th tally of the season, making her the first player since Michelle Binning in 2008-09 and 2009-10 to record double-digit goals in back-to-back seasons. The sophomore is also the first player to open her career with two 10+ goal seasons since Amy Hollstein did it in 2006-07 and 2007-08.
Maine responded with a goal in the second period before tallying four, including two empty-netters, in the third period to pick up the win. UConn drops to 9-23-2 and 6-14-1 in Hockey East with the loss, while Maine moves to 7-19-5 and 5-13-3 in league play. The teams are now tied at fifth in the WHEA standings, but Maine holds a tiebreaker thanks to a 2-0-1 record in the season series.
Moses made the start for UConn in goal and picked up 24 saves, while Maine's Meghann Treacy recorded 25 stops. Audra Richards paced the Black Bear offense with a hat trick, giving her a team-high 15 goals this season.
Cava got the scoring started for the Huskies right off the bat. At 1:06 of the opening frame, Sarah MacDonnell (Quispamsis, New Brunswick) worked the puck behind the net to Rebecca Fleming (Newton, Mass.). The junior patiently waited before feeding Cava in the low slot, who one-timed UConn's first shot of the day past Treacy to put the Huskies up 1-0.
The Huskies controlled play for much of the first period, connecting on another goal in the final minutes of the period. At 18:58, Leah Buress (Windsor, Ontario) fired a shot into traffic in front of the net. After the puck deflected of Alice Hughes (La Canada, Calif.), it found its way to Cavanagh's stick who buried her third goal of the year. UConn took its 2-0 lead to the first intermission after holding a 13-5 edge in shots on goal in the first stanza.
The Black Bears got on the board in the second period, capitalizing on their second power play of the day. Audra Richards was able to connect on her team-high 13th goal of the season after a scrum in front, cutting UConn's lead to 2-1.
UConn's best chance of the period came late in the frame, when MacDonnell forced a turnover near her own blue line and spun a pass to Cava. The winger entered the Maine zone with speed and tried to jam the puck to the stick of Fleming on the Black Bear goalmouth, but it skipped just wide. The second period with UConn still on top 2-1 after Maine earned a 7-6 advantage in shots in the frame.
Maine evened the score at 9:20 of the third period. After a scrum behind the UConn goal, Moses was taken down and the puck bounced to Richards, who easily popped the puck into the open net. The play was reviewed and confirmed, giving Richards her second goal of the game and making it a 2-2 game.
The Black Bears then took their first lead of the contest at 14:17, when Kelly McDonald sent a shot from the point past Moses to make it 3-2. Chris MacKenzie called timeout for UConn with 2:01 remaining and pulled Moses 30 seconds later, allowing Maine to tack on a pair of empty netters and push the score to 5-2, which stood as the final.
UConn's regular season is now over, but the Huskies will play next in the 2014 Women's Hockey East Championship Quarterfinal round. UConn's seed and opponent will be determined by games around the league later today and tomorrow. The Huskies will either open postseason play on Feb. 28 or March 1.