STORRS, Conn. - Three Huskies recorded their first goals of the season en route to a 5-4 win over Providence College (4-7-0, 0-5-0 WHEA) on Sunday afternoon at Freitas Ice Forum. Connecticut breaks into the conference win column with its first Hockey East victory of the season, improving to 1-2-1 in conference play and 4-6-1 overall.
Overall, UConn got five goals from five skaters, including the first career tallies for Kelly Harris (Canton, Mich.) and Rebecca Fleming (Newton, Mass.). Margaret Zimmer (St. Charles, Ill.) also scored her first goal of the season and Rachel Farrel (Cheshire, Conn.) and Sarah MacDonnell (Quispamsis, New Brunswick) each lit the lamp to round out the scoresheet.
The Huskies made their first shot count, finding the back of the net on their first try of the afternoon en route to a two-goal first period. Senior Kiana Nauheim (Fairbanks, Alaska) found an unmarked MacDonnell coasting into the offensive zone and slid a pass up from the slot to the top of the right circle. MacDonnell took advantage of ample time and space to find the perfect shot, catching Providence netminder Nina Riley off angle to snipe her team-leading fourth tally of the year into the upper left-hand corner of the twine at the 3:32 mark.
Soon after, Zimmer increased the UConn lead to 2-0 with her first appearance in the goal column this season. Zimmer deked the Providence defense and carried wide to the left side of the ice, dropping below the left circle and flicking a backhand shot inside the right post at 10:27 of the first period. Providence elected to switch goalkeepers after UConn's second goal in the period, calling on sophomore Allie Morse to replace Riley between the pipes.
The Friars cut the lead in half with seven seconds left on the clock in the first period. Maggie Pendleton unleashed a low slapshot from the point that UConn goalie Elaine Chuli (Waterford, Ontario) turned aside, but Cassidy Carels broke free of the Husky defense and poked in the rebound to put the Friars on the board.
UConn and Providence vied for goals in the second period, but both goalkeepers made exceptional saves on a pair of one-timer opportunities. Kayla Campero (Wallingford, Conn.) opened up in front for a good look with just over 13 minutes to play in the second period. Campero one-touched a puck to Morse's left side, but the sophomore managed to get her left pad on the shot to keep the game close. Providence responded with a solid one-timer chance of its own barely one minute later. The Friars found an unchecked Haley Frade posted on Chuli's doorstep, but the UConn netminder read the pass from the corner and moved perfectly across the crease to make the sliding butterfly save on Frade's shot
Not to be denied in the second period, the Huskies used a late goal power play with 1:46 remaining to restore the two goal lead, 3-1. Jessica Stott (Niverville, Manitoba) accepted a pass at the top of the right circle from MacDonnell and placed a hard, low shot on net. Harris perfectly redirected the shot from the middle of the slot, fooling Morse with the change of direction for her first career goal.
Both teams erupted for a wild third period, trading two goals apiece (four total) in a 2:49 flurry of action. Carels buried her second goal of the game at the 12:50 mark to trim the lead to 3-2, but Farrel responded just 16 seconds later with a high glove-side snipe to put the Huskies back up 4-2. Frade recorded her first of two goals just 59 seconds later, carrying low and cutting across the goal mouth to deposit a puck around Chuli's left side to adjust the scoreboard to 4-3.
Only 22 seconds after the second Providence goal, Fleming avenged the tally with her first goal of the season at 14:39 to push Providence back, 5-3. Fleming's tally would prove to be the game-winner, as the Friars pulled Morse for the extra skater and were able to take advantage, using another Frade goal with 37 seconds remaining in the game for a 5-4 score. UConn stood strong in the closing seconds to seal the win. Despite all of the third period goals, the Huskies never relinquished the lead or even allowed Providence to tie the contest.
Fleming finished with a goal and two assists on the day while MacDonnell also had a multi-point day with a goal and an assist to pace the UConn scoring effort. Carels and Frade both notched two goals apiece to account for the Friars' scoring, with Frade adding an assist to her afternoon as well.
Chuli stood tall for 27 saves to help the Huskies to their first conference victory of the year, improving her record to 2-3-1 overall. Riley allowed two goals without making a stop in the first 10:27 of action before giving way to Morse, who was credited with 18 saves over 48:20 of time in net. Morse took the loss between the Providence pipes, dropping her first decision of the year for a 0-1-0 record.
UConn will have a nine-day hiatus from gameplay before traveling to Rhode Island for a matchup with Brown University on Tuesday, Nov. 19. Opening faceoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. in Providence.