STORRS, Conn. - The UConn women's hockey team (5-15-2, 2-6-1 WHEA) got a late goal from Sarah MacDonnell (Quispamsis, New Brunswick) and 30 saves from Elaine Chuli (Waterford, Ontario) but fell, 3-1, to Northeastern (8-12-2, 4-6-2 WHEA) on Wednesday night at Freitas Ice Forum.
Chuli picked up her fifth-straight 30-save ledger to open the month of January, but was bested by a 34-save performance from her counterpart, NU's Chloe Desjardins. UConn held a 35-33 advantage in shots on goal in the tight contest, and won 29-of-50 faceoffs. The Huskies in blue and white were 0-for-4 on the power play, while NU's Hounds went 1-for-5.
UConn was the aggressor early, earning a 12-6 advantage in shots on goal during the first period. However, NU's Desjardins was up to the task and stopped all 12 shots to come her way in the opening stanza. Northeastern also was able to kill off a pair of UConn power plays, and the contest went to its first intermission scoreless. MacDonnell led all players with four shots on goal in the first, including a pair of dangerous chances on UConn's power play opportunities.
The Huskies in red and black broke the scoreless draw at 13:38 of the second period, capitalizing on their second of three power play tries in the frame. Heather Mottau fired a shot that was saved by Chuli, but a loose rebound found its way to the stick of Esposito, who buried her second goal of the season to make it 1-0 NU.
Northeastern nearly scored again on its third power play late in the third period, if not for a goal line-toeing blocked shot by Kiana Nauheim (Fairbanks, Alaska) after a Hayley Scmaurra shot appeared to trickle past Chuli. UConn nearly found an equalizer in the closing seconds of the second frame, but Kayla Campero (Wallingford, Conn.) couldn't connect on a big rebound off a Rachel Farrel (Cheshire, Conn.) shot and Northeastern took a one-goal lead to the second intermission.
NU tacked onto its lead just 1:44 into the third period, when Katie MacSorley connected for her team-high 11th goal of the year off assists from Kelly Wallace and Paige Savage. The teams skated evenly over the majority of the period, until UConn coach Chris MacKenzie called timeout with 2:18 to play in regulation to pull Chuli, down 2-0.
The extra attacker paid off quickly for UConn, as it broke into the scoring column at the 18:26 mark. Michela Cava (Thunder Bay, Ontario) won possession in a scrum along the board and slid a pass to MacDonnell at the point. The Connecticut assistant captain waited patiently until she had an angle, then rifled a slapshot past Desjardins for her seventh goal of the year.
UConn kept up the pressure with Chuli still on the bench for the next minute, but Northeastern finally sealed the contest with an empty net tally from Mottau to make it 3-1, which stood as the final score.
Up next, UConn plays a home-and-home with league foe New Hampshire. The Wildcats visit Storrs on Saturday, before the Huskies head to Durham, N.H. on Sunday. Both contests are slated for 2 p.m. puck drops.