STORRS, Conn. - The UConn women's ice hockey team fell to Union College in its season-opener this afternoon by a score of 3-2. The Huskies (0-1-0) received a two-goal effort from junior forward Rachel Farrel (Cheshire, Conn.) but were unable to find the equalizer as the Dutchwomen (1-0-0) held strong to a one-goal lead on Saturday afternoon at Freitas Ice Forum.
Both teams earned powerplay opportunities in the early going but could not convert on the chances. Union used their extra man opportunity as a momentum builder, generating several quality shots that UConn's Elaine Chuli (Waterford, Ontario) denied in the opening minutes of the game. The Dutchwomen's offensive pressure proved too great, however, as Union outshot the Huskies 26-3 in the first frame. Kathryn Tomaselli put Union on the scoreboard with seven seconds remaining in the first period, capitalizing on a loose rebound in front. Chuli's tremendous efforts in the Husky crease kept the game close with 22 first period saves.
UConn came out of the locker room flying in the second period, tying the game with just two minutes and three seconds elapsed on the scoreboard. Kayla Campero (Wallingford, Conn.) accepted a pass from Rebecca Fleming and ripped a hard shot on net that Union goaltender Shenae Lundberg turned aside. Rachel Farrel pounced on the loose puck and buried the rebound to score her first of the season.
The Dutchwomen battled back to restore their lead 8:51 into the second period. Union forward Kathryn Tomaselli received a pass from linemate Courtney Turner and skated below the right faceoff dot, cutting back at the last minute and slipping a wrist shot past Chuli on her near-side post. Union tacked on a third goal that would prove to be the game-winner during a second period powerplay. senior defenseman Maddy Norton took advantage of the extra space to crank a heavy slapshot that made its way through traffic and slipped between Chuli's pads at 16:27.
Farrel would strike again to bring the Huskies back within one just 6:39 into the thirdperiod. After serving a two-minute minor penalty for body checking, Farrel hopped out of the box and received a clearing pass at the redline from an alert Caitlin Hewes (Stillwater, Minn.) in the defensive zone. Farrel charged down the center of the ice, around the final defender, deked Lundberg on a forehand-to-backhand move, and roofed a strong shot into the top of the netting for her second tally of the game.
The goal electrified the Husky bench and fan crowd, spurring a flurry of good chances as UConn worked to tie the game. The Huskies worked ferociously in the closing minutes, pulling Chuli to add the extra skater. The UConn efforts fell just short, as the Dutchwomen's forecheck maintained pressure and kept the puck clear of their defensive end as time expired.
UConn received a valiant performance from Chuli (three goals against) between the pipes. The sophomore fell just one save shy of tying her career high with 43 stops. Lundberg stood tall in the Union cage to hold UConn at bay, finishing with 27 saves and two goals against over a full game of work.
Union's goals resulted from a 46-29 differential in shots, going 1/3 on the powerplay, including the eventual game-winner. The Huskies maintained the advantage in face-offs, winning 32 of 55.
UConn will return to action next weekend as they travel out to Minnesota Duluth for a two game set with the Bulldogs. Both contests are slated for 6 p.m. starts on October 4th and 5th.